Let’s Hear it for the Ducks!
The aloha spirit will surge across the nation tomorrow, as we cheer on University of Oregon Ducks as they go head-to-head against Ohio State Buckeyes in the college football national championship game in Arlington, Texas. This hotly-contended nail-biter is expected to spike TV ratings, and all hopefully will witness Hawaii’s own Marcus Mariota, star quarterback for the Ducks and 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, lead his team to victory.
Whether or not you’re rooting for Oregon or even keep up with college football is beside the point. Our local boy is making history. Standing at 6-foot-4, 219 pounds, Saint Louis alum Mariota is arguably the most popular player in college football this season, and I can’t help but want to jump on the wave and enjoy the ride alongside him and his team.
So this week, in honor of Mariota’s remarkable season — in which he’s accounted for 5,000 yards of offense and 56 total touchdowns, while throwing only three interceptions and losing three fumbles — the following OYK hot spots know the drill: Duck is on the menu. And these chefs have game, feasting on the energy in the kitchen just as the Ducks do on the field. All eyes are on the prize.
Driven by excellence and a passion for quality, the chefs at Azure Restaurant offer the creme de la creme of Hawaii’s freshest and finest ingredients brought to life in a symphony of culinary masterpieces, which encompass Hawaiian regional cuisine.
A world-class establishment, Azure is located within The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort, in Waikiki. Shaymus Alwin serves as chef de cuisine, and with more than 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry, he brings with him a fresh approach to sophisticated dining.
As part of Azure’s Papa Aina Menu ($160 with wine pairing), Smoked Duck Raviolo with Foie Gras, Squid Ink Pasta, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Duck Jus and Duck Powder is a must-have for any duck connoisseur. “We smoke the duck breast on kiawe wood, then sous vide it in duck fat and aromatics for about an hour,” explains Alwin, who slices the meat and places it alongside Hudson Valley foie gras. The jus is comprised of veal stock and fortified with roasted Chinese-style duck bones.
“This dish is duck, duck and more duck. We top the duck with our squid ink pasta and add crispy Brussels sprouts, Alii mushrooms and creamy potato puree. Also, we make foie gras powder with maltodextrin and foie gras render to bring another layer of depth to the dish,” confirms Alwin, noting that patrons also enjoy the tableside presentation of duck-infused masterpiece.
The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
2259 Kalakaua Ave.
Award-winning chef Chai Chaowasaree plays up his culinary repertoire with nuances of Asian flair and innovative craftsmanship. Patrons experience this firsthand at his namesake restaurant Chef Chai, located on the ground level of Pacifica Honolulu on Kapiolani Boulevard.
Every dish on the menu lives up to chef’s outstanding reputation. “Everything is centered on fresh ingredients and nutritional value. Eating healthy can taste good,” he says. Chaowasaree pleases duck fanatics with Chai’s Style Duck L’Orange ($35) prepared French-style. The dish features duck leg confit and pan-seared duck breast bathed in orange and light, candied kumquat demi. What you have is ultimate perfection — the skin crispy, and the meat juicy and tender. Mashed potatoes, haricot vert and baby carrots accompany the duck.
No question about it, diners receive a champion-worthy meal at Chef Chai. Reservations are highly recommended.
1009 Kapiolani Blvd.
Seafood Village Chinese Cuisine
For more than two decades, Seafood Village in Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa has presented both kamaaina and visitors alike with a taste of Hong Kong in the heart of paradise. Although the name alone promises a sea full of flavors, the restaurant offers a broad selection that goes beyond the depths of the ocean.
Duck is the name of the game, so, of course, Roasted Peking Duck with Pancake or Bun is included in the starting lineup of desired fare. Priced at $28 (half order, eight pieces) this customer favorite is served in two separate dishes. The skin is cooked to a crisp and removed. The meat is served as is, and the skin, a highlight of the dish, is presented in your choice of steamed bun or pancake. A sweet plum sauce is placed atop the crisp duck skin, along with slivers of green onion and cucumber, for garnish.
“Roasted Peking Duck is a longtime favorite of our local clientele. There’s so much to this dish, and you really get your money’s worth,” says Seafood Village’s Steve Matsuno. “Most kamaaina prefer to pair the Peking duck with the bun because it’s soft and absorbs all the flavors like a sponge.”
Seafood Village Chinese Cuisine
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa
2424 Kalakaua Ave.