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Relax with a Stunning Meal by the Beach

Cover Story

August 25, 2019

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

The A Team: Assistant manager John Hoffman, left, general manager Philip Shaw, executive chef Hardy Kintscher, sous chef Toni Kitamura and bar manager Cristian Carvallo

Similar to a team of performers preparing for a world-class on-stage event, the experienced team at Michel’s at the Colony Surf puts in countless hours behind the scenes to ensure that its performance — including stellar cuisine and service — is top-notch when the lights come on and diners take their seats.

The “Showtime” experience requires dedication, discipline and passion to bring about what John R. Hoffman, assistant general manager, calls “On-stage presence, and every night is like a show — there’s such a performance that goes into making the beverages and food alongside this beautiful setting, and we really try to interact with our guests because it makes the meal complete.”

Gelato Coupe Framboise

The restaurant is situated right on picturesque Waikiki Beach on the beautiful stretch of Kaimana Beach, on which kamaaina, visitors and even famous monk seals named Rocky and Kaimana relax and play. The restaurant space used to be a recreation room and was converted to a restaurant and bar in 1962 when legendary restauranteur and host Michel Martin, who was known for sharing fine French cuisine with Hawaii diners, moved the establishment from Wahiawa to its current home at the quiet end of Kalakaua Avenue near the base of Diamond Head.

Chef Toni’s Punaluu Sweet Bread French Toast

Local residents and those exploring Hawaii make it a point to return to Michel’s, including couples celebrating wedding anniversaries. And, every visit offers memorable dining options and service, as well as a unique perspective of the changing cloud formations, rolling surf and awe-inspiring sunsets.

Michel’s at the Colony Surf serves up a robust Sunday Brunch ($56 per person, tax and gratuity not included) every first Sunday of the month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. as well as Easter and Mother’s Day that occur later in their respective months. The alluring brunch lineup prepared by executive chef Hardy Kintscher and his team begins with a starter plate featuring fresh fruit and a flaky croissant.

Grilled Blue Crab Cakes

For the appetizer course, guests may select from Scottish Smoked Salmon, Roasted Tomato Bisque or Grilled Blue Crab Cakes with saffron aioli and a small bouquet of greens.

As the main course takes the stage, guests may indulge in Chef Toni’s Punaluu Sweet Bread French Toast with vanilla-coconut custard, applewood bacon and minted strawberries; Slow-Roasted Prime Ribeye; Eggs Benedict a la Michel’s; and Coulibiac of Scottish Salmon & Local Mahi-Mahi with a golden puff pastry crust and dill white wine sauce.

Bar manager Cristian Carvallo displays a Tableside Bloody Mary.

For dessert, diners may select from Gelato Coupe Framboise or Tropical Coconut Cheesecake. A Keiki Menu ($24) is also available for brunch with kid-friendly classics such as Cinnamon French Toast and Angel Hair Pasta with oven-roasted chicken and tomato sauce.

“We want to create a special memory for guests with friends and family. It’s so beautiful, the food is delicious and the drinks are so good it all just clicks,” Hoffman says. “People say ‘I remember coming to brunch 40 years ago,’ and they keep coming back. It just happens here, like magic.”

*Note: Items 1-3 are part of Sunday Brunch offerings

A Bloody Mary Boost

While the typical Bloody Mary is a standard brunch staple, the team at Michel’s at the Colony Surf has elevated the experience with the customizable Tableside Bloody Mary (starting at $12, additional charges for specialty garnishes and premium vodka selections). Cristian Carvallo, Michel’s bar manager known as a “Star Tender” mixologist, wanted guests to enjoy a tableside experience where their cocktail is prepared the same way a fresh salad or dessert is built.

“Everyone knows what a Bloody Mary is,” Carvallo says, “and Michel’s is known for tableside service, so I wanted to incorporate that theme and bring the bar tableside so every step of the process is customized for guests.” He mentions that diners can choose everything from olives stuffed with red peppers or blue cheese, three types of Hawaiian sea salt on the rim and special accompaniments on upgraded versions of the beverage including shrimp and prime rib. And, be sure to ask the bartender to create the Bloody Mary with a kiawe wood smoke-°nish to add a unique ˛ avor.

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