Still the One After 110 YearsCover Story Features
March 13, 2011
Story By: Dining Out Team |
The Moana Surfrider celebrates decades of impeccable service with a special four-course tasting menu, available through March 31. The Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa, recently celebrated 11 hospitable decades of catering to Hawaii and its visitors from across the globe. Known as “The First Lady of Waikiki,” the Moana Surfrider is a renowned historical landmark, and in all its elegance and glory, the Moana doesn’t skip a beat in offering up the finest in island cuisine as well.
Beachhouse at the Moana’s executive chef Rodney Uyehara sat down with Dining Out to share a meal of all meals that he and his culinary team have expertly prepared in honor of this momentous occasion. This 110th anniversary, four-course tasting menu was conceived from menu options at the Moana dated back to the 1930s. Uyehara, who has served at the Beachhouse since its inception in 2008, took these original ideas and modernized them into culinary works of art that we see today.
DO: Chef Uyehara, you’ve served as executive chef here at the Beachhouse since its doors first opened. Can you explain the concept of the Beachhouse and what guests can expect when dining here?
Uyehara: What we work hard to present is an upscale boutique-style steakhouse with bold flavors. But at the same time, we try to keep the menu very simple and straightforward by not overwhelming diners with too much flavor.
We also want diners to feel comfortable when they dine here, as if they were at home. Also, watching the sunset over the ocean when you dine here is something that everyone is amazed at.
DO: The Moana Surfrider recently celebrated its 110th anniversary and you featured a fabulous four-course tasting menu to commemorate the event. Tell us about this.
Uyehara: The Bishop Museum presented us with archaic menus from the 1930s that were previously a part of the Moana Surfrider. These menus were greatly influenced by the European chefs of that time. So, what we did was take some of those ideas and incorporate them into our tasting menu.
DO: This month’s Beachhouse tasting menu made its debut as part of the anniversary celebration last week. But will the menu continue to be available to diners? And if so, for how long?
Uyehara: Yes, this particular menu will be available nightly until March 31 for $110 per person, not including tax or tip.
DO: Great! What can hungry diners expect to feast on as part of this tasting menu?
Uyehara: The first course is a Pan-Seared Prosciutto Scallop. The scallop is wrapped in prosciutto and we’ve incorporated a poi vinaigrette sauce served over Nalo greens. The second course is a Moyer Farms Steak Diane. Steak Diane was another one of the classics that the Europeans brought to Hawaii, so we’re changing it up some with Big Island baby spinach and Oregon morels. The third course is Roasted Veal Oscar served with seared foie gras and king crab tempura topped with a tawny port demi sauce. Then for the fourth and final course, we’re featuring a Dark Rum Creme Brulee with caramelized sugar on macadamia nut short bread cookie.
DO: Sounds delicious! Aside from the dishes, there also are more than 200 varieties of wines offered at the Beachhouse. Are there any specific wines that you would pair with these courses?
Uyehara: I would definitely pair our Beachhouse Cabernet with the Moyer Farms Steak Diane, and pair our Beachhouse Riesling with the Pan-Seared Prosciutto Scallop. The Riesling has a nice citrus acidity to it, and it goes really well with the vinaigrette and the slight gaminess you receive from the prosciutto and the scallop.
DO: Being that the cuisine is inspired by menus dated back to the 1930s, how does this tie into the Moana Surfrider’s 110th anniversary?
Uyehara: The Moana Surfrider is a historical site, along with the Princess Kaiulani and the Royal Hawaiian. These hotels have a lot of history and Hawaiiana to them — so it’s really no surprise that Bishop Museum has kept great records of the properties, menus included.
DO: While culinary practices have certainly evolved since the 1930s, one particular practice has remained constant. Tell us about this practice.
Uyehara: Back then, chefs tried to use local, sustainable products and ingredients, like local greens and veggies. This same practice continues today. We use Nalo greens from Waimanalo, and we also use local poi, Big Island baby spinach and fresh asparagus from Kahuku.
DO: Many love the Wagyu beef found on the menu as well. What’s so special about this meat?
Uyehara: The Wagyu that we serve at the Beachhouse is actually from Australia, and we serve the Australian Wagyu strip loin and the Australian Wagyu rib-eye. It’s a premier, top-quality steak that our guests love.
DO: Do you have any plans to expand the Beachhouse in the future?
Uyehara: Yes, we hope to evolve the menu. Right now you can say the menu is catered to outof-town guests, so what I would like to do is cater it more toward the locals by increasing the usage of local, sustainable products and adding a bit of local flair to the menu.
Beachhouse at the Moana
- The Moana Surfrider
- 2365 Kalakaua Avenue
- Honolulu, HI 96815
- (808) 921-4600 (for reservations)
- Open daily
- 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.