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Happy hour specials will make you smile

A La Carte

December 30, 2018

Story By: Don Robbins | Photos by: FILE PHOTOS

Fresh Kumamoto Oysters on Ice with Lemongrass Garlic Mignonette ($10 for a half-dozen during happy hour).

There is always something mouthwatering and exciting to discover when you visit Chef Chai.

A delightfully upscale restaurant centrally located at Pacifica Honolulu on Kapiolani Boulevard, this dining establishment is the brainchild of acclaimed owner and chef Chai Chaowasaree.

Admired as a chef at the pinnacle of Hawaii’s regional cuisine, Chaowasaree melds the freshest Hawaii ingredients with Asian flair to whip up a culinary mix that emphasizes the state’s wonderful diversity.

Multiple award-winner Chaowasaree is constantly on the lookout for flavors that hearken back to his childhood reminiscence of shopping at the local markets in Bangkok to discover the highest caliber ingredients to serve at his family’s beloved restaurant.

Some of the astounding menu items at Chef Chai are Miso Chilean Sea Bass with Pickled Vegetables, Vegetable Terrine with Green Curry Sauce and more.

Fresh Ahi Tartar ($8 during happy hour).

The restaurant has a large dessert menu and a top-notch variety of cocktails, wines and other drinks. Another highlight at Chef Chai is the Monthly Full Moon Concert dinner and show featuring talented musicians.

Customers also can partake in Chef Chai’s early bird dinner menu available from 4 to 5 p.m., with reservations highly recommended.

Additionally, Chef Chai boasts an exquisite happy hour menu to keep patrons in good spirits.

Among the delectable offerings during happy hour, which is held 4-6 p.m. in the bar area only, is Fresh Ahi Tartar ($8). This tasty treat features fresh sashimi grade ahi, diced into small pieces. The ahi is seasoned with Korean gochujang chili, sesame oil, chopped Maui onions and Hawaiian sea salt. Once seasoned, the ahi cubes are placed in mini waffle cones with avocado mousse and green onions.

Another popular happy hour indulgence is Fresh Kumamoto Oysters on Ice with Lemongrass Garlic Mignonette ($10 for a half-dozen).

“This small oyster is rich and creamy and not too salty,” Chaowasaree explains.

The succulent shellfish is seasoned with the chef’s perfectly prepared garlic mignonette made with lemon juice, chopped lemon-grass, kaffir lime, chopped garlic and a hint of spicy chopped chili. Everything is garnished with fresh tomatoes and tobiko caviar.

When you’re ready to walk on the wild side during happy hour, bite into the Spicy Suicidal Chicken Wings with Granny Smith Apple Slaw ($8). Chaowasaree describes this as “Mama’s recipe” from her Bangkok restaurant. The juicy, tender chicken wings are marinated in ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and ground Sichuan pepper. They are fried to a crispy consistency and coated with Thai spicy and sweet chili honey sauce, then finished with chopped peanuts and cilantro.

Such a bounty of different flavors and textures await you at Chef Chai. You’ll be inspired to make a New Year’s resolution to visit Chef Chai soon and experience the good fortune for yourself.

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