A Dynasty Fit for Kings & QueensCover Story Features
January 16, 2011
Story By: Dining Out Team |
Located at Ala Moana Center’s Hookipa Terrace, Jade Dynasty is the first restaurant to open in the U.S. as part of Paramount Banquet Halls, which currently operates 22 locations throughout Hong Kong. The grand opening of this 8,250-square-foot eatery doesn’t take place until Tuesday, and for director Ave Kwok, the timing couldn’t be any better. With the Chinese New Year just around the corner, Kwok believes the restaurant will bring a new dimension of Chinese seafood dining to Hawaii.
Dining Out recently took the opportunity to see firsthand what Jade Dynasty is all about. Open daily, the restaurant is a culinary dynasty that, according to Kwok, is fitting for royalty.
DO: Jade Dynasty is beautiful. What is the concept behind the restaurant?
Ave Kwok: My concept is one of contemporary elegance. If you’re dining here I want you to feel like a king and queen. We want to draw in more local customers and bring them a true Chinese style (of cuisine). We technically serve a Hong Kong-style cuisine. It’s a whole different level of cuisine with great importance placed on presentation and taste, as Hong Kong diners are constantly eating and have a diverse palate.
What we do is we take traditional foods and add our own concepts. It’s delicious homemade food at an affordable price.
DO: There appears to be a never-ending flow of traffic coming in for lunch and dinner. What type of crowds are you drawing?
AK: I would say we cater to 80 percent of local people from all walks of life. Business people frequent the restaurant on week-days, and on the weekends it’s all about the families. Fifteen to 20 percent of our clientele are tourists. The Japanese tourists seem to love dim sum.
DO: Tell us more about your dim sum, which costs between $2.95 and $4.50 per order.
AK: For starters, there’s the Deep-fried Bean Curd Roll, Pan-fried Turnip Cake and the Seafood Seaweed Roll. Our dim sum chef Bun Lau is from Zhongshan and prepares the best Zhongshan Pork Dumplings. The dumplings are filled with pork that has a special, authentic taste, and is mixed with peanuts and some vegetable oil. When you taste it, it’s so smooth.
The Date Gelatin is a healthy dim sum alternative made with chrysanthemum leaves and gelatin. It’s usually had as a dessert.
Everyone opts for dim sum for Chinese New Year because it’s easy to eat and it has many different flavors and tastes.
DO: Besides dim sum, can you talk about other dishes that guests can expect from executive chef King Kan?
AK: There’s the Spicy Sea Bass ($17.95), which is a Szechuan-style fish in a spicy broth. Then we have the Braised Spare Ribs in our homemade sauce ($15.95) that are cooked for two days and literally falls right off the bone. The Pan Fried Noodle with Assorted Seafood ($13.95) is also very delicious, and every night we have a massive amount of fresh fish like kumu and sea bass. As for desserts, we have Mango Pudding, Coconut Pudding and Egg Tart.
DO: What are some of your unique offerings?
AK: The Green Tea Manapua, Coffee Essence Dumplings, Snow Mountain Siu Mai and Ying Yang Scallops with Crab.
DO: This year is the Year of the Rabbit. Is there any special significance to this animal and your restaurant opening at this specific time?
AK: Rabbits are quick, sharp and clean, and that’s what I want for this restaurant. The Chinese New Year also symbolizes a refreshing beginning. Our goal for the restaurant is to have high energy and to be clean like a rabbit. I think the Chinese New Year is a good time to have our grand opening. We’re packed every day; I’m very happy. We have a huge amount of parties scheduled for Chinese New Year. We advise people to make reservations early.
DO: One thing I’ve noticed is that Jade Dynasty places a lot of emphasis on interior design. It’s exquisite!
AK: Yes, all of our decor was fabricated in China by master artisans and then shipped to Hawaii — everything from granite and marble furnishings to the rich teak panels. We spent $3.5 million in renovations.
And we’re actually one of the first restaurants to go green at Ala Moana. We’re using LED lighting and helping to save energy.
I want Jade Dynasty to be known in two areas: one, the food has to be excellent; and two, the service also has to be at the highest level.
And being that we can seat around 300 people also means that we have a great demand from people wanting us to host parties — so, of course, we want to make the restaurant more accessible for parties.
In the next month, we’ll also have a huge fish tank that will offer guests a selection of live Maine Lobsters, Dungeness Crab, Kona Abalone, Kahuku Prawns and Sunfish. We’re really excited about that.
Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
- Ala Moana Shopping Center, Hookipa Terrace
- 1450 Ala Moana Boulevard
- Honolulu, HI 96814
- (808) 947-8818
- Open daily
- 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.