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Delight in vegan creations or meaty thrills

A La Carte

November 18, 2018

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: The Reef Bar & Market Grill

Vegan “Scallops” ($22)

In a world filled with omnivores, vegans often find themselves left out of the greater culinary adventure. At most restaurants, the hungry vegan is obliged to cobble together uninspired meals of salads, sides and fruit plates.

But a chef at one Waikiki restaurant seems determined to offer variety to vegan guests. Executive sous chef Delia Romano says The Reef Bar & Market Grill, which already offers a fine selection of vegetable dishes, recently added two specially created vegan items to its menu.

“I’m vegan myself, so we’ve been trying to add more options, using our culinary knowledge and local ingredients,” explains Romano, who says Hibiscus Poached Pear with Almond Cake and Sweet Cream ($14) is made entirely with Hawaii products. “The almonds we get from a farm here, and the cream is from cashews, also from a farm on Oahu.” An out-of-this-world delight, the pear is topped with a scoop of strawberry sorbet from Il Gelato Hawaii.

Hibiscus Poached Pear with Almond Cake and Sweet Cream ($14)

The other new dish, Vegan “Scallops” ($22), appears on the restaurant’s recently updated dinner menu. “They’re sauteed Alii mushrooms, cut to look like scallops, on a bed of pea puree, and topped with roasted macadamia nuts and arugula,” says Romano. The flavors in this whimsical dish come together beautifully.

Guests who order the “scallops” can also take a trip to the restaurant’s salad bar, included with the entree. This well-provisioned smorgasbord of salads, fruits and vegetables often includes unexpected treats like li hing pineapple, roasted Brussels sprouts, and watermelon and mint salad.

Though the spotlight’s presently on vegan delights, The Reef Bar & Market Grill is legendary for its butcher display case of quality meats, ready to throw on the restaurant’s grills. “More than 80 percent of our steaks are now local, from Kunoa Cattle Company on West Oahu,” notes Romano.

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