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Perfecting Edible Art

By Lindsey Appleton Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
February 8, 2015

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What happens when you combine French culinary techniques and presentation with home-style, Laotian-inspired recipes? Art. Maybe not art in the traditional sense, but culinary art — crafted and catered to please its hungry audience. Praseuth “JJ” Luangkhot, chef and owner of JJ Bistro & French Pastry, is both creator and curator of this culinary art, and focuses his attention on aesthetic presentations and taste-bud-pleasing flavors.

“I love food. I love to cook it and I love to eat it,” says Luangkhot. “I want to share my passion with all of my customers. It’s important to me that my restaurant remains a simple bistro, but with high-end presentation and taste for an affordable price.”

The menu will confirm Luangkhot’s enthusiasm for unique food and variety. Selections range from Escargot ($8.95) to House Special Pizza ($8.95) made with green curry sauce. For starters, try a new addition: Soft Shell Crab ($10.95). Panko crusted and accompanied by a salad and house-made lemon pepper aioli sauce, the tender soft-shell crab is served whole.

“I learned my basic cooking skills and recipes from my mom in Laos,” explains Luangkhot. “She taught me what to do and how to do it, and, most importantly, what tastes good. Then I was trained in French cooking and presentation. I combined that with my mom’s cooking to create my signature flavors and dishes.”

Experience the best of Asian and European fusion in dishes such as Poached Lobster Tails Double ($28.95) — served with shiitake mushrooms in garlic white wine Buerre Blanc sauce with fettuccine. If food from the land is what you’re craving, order Baked Lamb Wellington ($18.95) — wrapped in a puff pastry with a side of potato and black pepper cream sauce.

“Being able to make puff pastry dough almost is like the test to see if you can make it as a baker,” says Luangkhot. “You have to keep track of how many times you folded it (the dough), and let it rest for many days. The puff pastry helps keep the lamb moist, and absorbs all of the delicate and rich flavors.”

A trip to JJ Bistro & French Pastry isn’t complete without Luangkhot’s famous desserts. Dig into his top-selling cheesecakes: Lilikoi Cheesecake ($5.25) and Guava Cheesecake ($5.25). Made New York style, Luangkhot’s cheese-cakes are dense and creamy, sweet but savory, and perfectly paired with tangy fruit toppings. If you’d prefer something lighter, slice your fork into the fluffy Black Currant Mousse Cake ($4.95) or bite into fresh Chocolate Covered Strawberries ($29.95 per dozen, $2.75 individually).

Indulge your sweetheart with a Valentine’s Day dinner ($38) — four courses with a complimentary Strawberry Martini and Chocolate Covered Strawberry. After Valentine’s Day, spoil yourself with a Seafood Feast: order two seafood selections and get one for free. And, in March, help JJ Bistro celebrate 16 years of business with its Sweet 16 special, where customers receive a free additional dessert as well as a Strawberry Martini with every four-course meal.

Experience Luangkhot’s exceptional cuisine before he becomes an international sensation. Opening a series of restaurants in Japan (he takes frequent trips there to personally train each chef), and another location in Honolulu, JJ Bistro & French Pastry’s culinary art is no longer a secret.

“I love to challenge myself. Food is art,” he says.

JJ Bistro & French Pastry

3447 Waialae Ave., Honolulu
739-0993
Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Sunday, 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m.