Loungin’ With Lamb ChopsOno, You Know
November 12, 2017
Story By: Ali Resich |
Some of the best lamb chops out there are the ones covered in a mouthwateringly crispy crust, and it’s not unusual to find this type of presentation amid Honolulu’s upscale dining scene.
This week, Ono, You Know is interested in getting to the bottom of this tasty trend, all while finding out just what makes Oahu’s chefs — and their patrons — go crazy for the satisfying crunch of these golden-top chops.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the crunch of the crust offers the perfect textural contrast to the lamb’s juicy, succulent and tender meat.
Or maybe it’s the added dimension of flavor that the crust brings to the dish, with its seasonings enhancing the gamy flair of this one-of-a-kind protein.
To find out what it’s all about for the expert chefs at Stage Restaurant and 3660 on the Rise, you’ll just have to keep reading — oh, and, of course, try these delicious creations for yourself:
THE STAGE IS SET FOR GREAT FOOD
Ron de Guzman, executive chef at Stage Restaurant, is known for taking classic dishes and putting a contemporary spin on them. And that’s exactly what he set out to do with Honey-Marcona Almond Crusted Colorado Lamb Chop ($50), his very own take on crusted lamb.
The dinner entree begins with the finest-quality game meat sourced from Colorado — a chefs-favorite pick for lamb at the moment.
“I like this one — (the taste of the meat) is a little cleaner, so we don’t have to do too much in terms of adding sweetness or adding herbs,” explains de Guzman.
But what he does do to enhance the natural tenderness and juiciness of this top-tier lamb is throw it on the grill, add a Marcona almond and honey glaze, top it all off with some crispy panko, and finish it in the oven.
“To me, game and sweet flavors work really well together,” says the chef, when commenting on the honey glaze. “They balance each other and the sweetness enhances everything else around it, because the crust has a lot of flavor as well.”
Part of that flavor in the crust comes from the Marcona almond, which is a round and slightly sweet Spanish variety of almonds that adds to the luxuriousness of the meat. “Marcona almonds are really buttery, and they give a nice texture to the crust,” says the chef.
Enjoy Honey-Marcona Almond Crusted Colorado Lamb Chop alongside other gourmet bites during dinner service Tuesday through Saturday at the Honolulu Design Center restaurant.
RISING TO THIS LAMB-FILLED OCCASION
The menu at 3660 on the Rise speaks to the popularity of a dish like crusted lamb chops. As chef de cuisine Lydell Leong will tell you, the restaurant has attempted to switch up its lamb preparation a handful of times over the past 20-plus years, yet it keeps going back to its crusted presentation due to one thing — customer demand.
“We always ended up coming back to this one because people kept requesting it,” confirms Leong, when referring to the eatery’s signature Roast Rack of Macadamia Nut Crusted Colorado Lamb ($45).
This is not any old crusted lamb, mind you. As its name suggests, the dish gets its elegant local touch from toasted macadamia nut crumbles that are incorporated into the panko crust. The luscious, crusted meat is served with a rich sauce prepared with 3660’s house-made demi-glace as its base.
“Traditionally, you would serve lamb with mint jelly. So instead of that, we do a fresh mint cabernet demi-glace,” explains Leong. “It has the mint flavor, but it has that tartness from the reduced (red wine), so the flavors complement each other. The sauce has a great viscosity as well, so it sticks to the food really well.”
The restaurant, which continues to be led by executive chef and co-owner Russell Siu, also uses Colorado lamb, as it is less gamy and provides a meatier tenderloin than alternatives, according to Leong. If diners desire just a taste of this divine lamb with their meal, opt for the new pupu, a single Fire Roasted Marinated Lamb Chop to start.
Guests also are reminded to look out for 3660’s current four-course menu special ($60), featuring a small portion of Ahi Katsu; choice of clam and corn chowder or Caesar salad; entrée selection of Tempura Catfish with ponzu sauce, New York Steak Alaea or Chicken Oscar with yuzu hollandaise; and strawberry short cake.