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Early birds get the deals

Inside Feature

May 19, 2019

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

Family Style Appetizer Sampler. The Family Style Appetizer Sampler offers a diverse introduction to Chef Chai’s popular menu favorites on the Early Bird Menu ($42 per person) including Smoked Duck Taco with Fresh Tomato Mango Salsa, Salmon Gravlax Roulade with Cream Cheese & Crab Meat on Cucumber Chips, Katafiand Macadamia Nut Crusted Jumbo Black Tiger Prawns with Pineapple Vinaigrette and Roasted Butternut Squash and Lobster Bisque Shooters.

After more than three decades of adapting and updating his menu creations at multiple restaurant ventures in Waikiki and Aloha Tower Marketplace, Chef Chai Chaowasaree continues to perfect his iconic award-winning island fusion cuisine at his namesake restaurant on the ground level of the Pacifica Honolulu Building on Kapiolani Boulevard across from the Neal Blaisdell Arena.

Chef Chai, which also impresses with award-winning interior design elements, serves up a contemporary look and feel, features a private dining room and offers seating at the spacious full bar as well as on the outside patio.

Grilled Kabayaki New Zealand King Salmon ($35). For one’s entree selection, diners may choose from the popular Grilled Kabayaki New Zealand King Salmon with sauteed vegetables, steamed white rice or coconut milk ginger brown rice.

From starting with almost nothing after coming to Hawaii from Thailand three decades ago, the culinary craftsman opened award-winning restaurants, launched a top-rated cooking show that aired for 15 years, published popular cookbooks and even served as executive chef for Hawaiian Airlines for eight years.

Vegetables Terrine ($28). Also available as an entree choice on the Early Bird Menu is Vegetables Terrine with Green Curry Sauce and Naan Bread ($28 a la carte), which features layers of mashed pumpkin, asparagus, portobello mushrooms, red bell pepper, carrots, zucchini and Okinawan potatoes.

As part of the ongoing 30th anniversary celebration, Chaowasaree is reintroducing some of his and customers’ favorite signature dishes. The popular Early Bird Menu ($42 per person) is available for guests seated between 4 and 5 p.m., and offers incredible value with a starter, appetizer sampler, choice of entree and dessert.

For starters, diners are treated to Chicken Sate with Thai Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Salad Asian Flat Bread, and continues with flavorful selections displayed in the accompanying photos.

Chocolate Amore Truffle ($9). For dessert, guests will end the special set menu with White Chocolate Amore Truffle ($9 a la carte). The popular heart-shaped classic with white chocolate gelato filled with raspberry sorbetto was originally created for first-class guests aboard Hawaiian Airlines, and is served with raspberry guava puree, and remains an iconic favorite at Chef Chai.

“Food evolves all the time, and you have to evolve around what’s happening and what’s hot,” says Chaowasaree. “Supporting local is very important. If you do the same thing you did 30 years ago, you won’t survive. People want more than a dinner, they want that experience. So, if you offer something unique and different, they’ll come, and we appreciate our guests.”

Chef Chai is open Tuesday through Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m. for dinner, and customers can take advantage of Happy Hour pupu and drink specials available from 4 to 6 p.m.

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