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Celebrating 30 Years Of Prolific Flavors

Cover Story

August 4, 2019

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Grilled Kabayaki New Zealand King Salmon with Sauteed Vegetables.

With more than three decades of adapting and improving his menu creations at multiple culinary ventures, Chef Chai Chaowasaree continues to impress diners with 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.

For diners looking to enjoy a meal after work, or plan on going to see a movie in town or take in a special event at the Blaisdell, Chef Chai and his team set the table with a delicious dinner. As part of the ongoing 30th anniversary celebration at Chef Chai, Chaowasaree has reintroduced some of his 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.

Family Style Appetizer Sampler

“We never change our portions, and even though the Early Bird price is discounted, you get the full portion on each item,” Chaowasaree says. “This location is perfect for those going to an event, and reservations are recommended because we fill up quickly.

“Our guests are looking for something with great value, and if you order this menu, you save more than $20! One of the good things about the Early Bird menu is you can sample our favorite dishes, so you get familiar with the flavor profiles that we offer all in one visit. These signature dishes have been well received over the years — you have to give the consumers what they want!”

Vegetables Terrine with Green Curry Sauce and Naan Bread

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

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. Pan-Roasted All-Natural Chicken with Hennessy Cognac Peppercorn Sauce is another popular entree choice on the Early Bird menu as the dish is accompanied by mashed potatoes, Hamakua mushrooms, baby carrots and Waialua asparagus

Pan Roasted All Natural Chicken with Hennessy Cognac Peppercorn Sauce
Part of the Chai Early Bird Special Menu at $42 per person

Also available as an entree choice on the Early Bird Menu is Vegetables Terrine with Green Curry Sauce and Naan Bread, which features layers of mashed pumpkin, asparagus, portobello mushrooms, red bell pepper, carrots, zucchini and Okinawan potatoes. For an additional $10, diners may select Grilled Deconstructed Beef Tenderloin Wellington as this entree choice is joined by mushroom foie gras puff, mashed potatoes, haricot vert, baby carrots and a Merlot demi to bring the bold flavors together.

For dessert, guests will end the special set menu with White Chocolate Amore Truffle. The popular heart-shaped classic with white chocolate gelato filled with raspberry sorbetto is served with raspberry guava puree, and remains a classic at Chef Chai.

Mesmerizing Morsels

Chef Chai is open nightly for dinner, and customers can take advantage of Happy Hour pupu and drink specials available from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 5 is “National Oyster Day,” so it’s a perfect time to enjoy the tasty morsels, and as part of the Happy Hour menu at Chef Chai, guests can enjoy the rich, buttery shell~ sh at a great price. During Happy Hour available daily in the bar area, order Fresh Oysters on Ice with Lemongrass Garlic Mignonette ($10) with six oysters — an incredible value. Chef Chai explains that the oysters are either Kumamoto Oysters harvested in Washington, or Kualoa Ranch Oysters cultivated locally “with a deeper pocket and a creamy texture that isn’t too salty.”

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