Bistro Offers Country-Style Dining in DowntownDigest Spotlight
January 13, 2013
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
During a conversation with some wine representatives who were admiring her collection of rare and unique beverages at HASR Wine Co., Terry Kakazu was inspired to use their comments in naming a new restaurant project, which is now flourishing.
“Of the wines we get, many of them are allocated — you can’t find them anywhere else,” explains Kakazu. “We have 18 lots of one-of-a-kind wines that we’ve purchased from around the world. The wine distributors told me that I’m ‘spoiled rotten’ because I can get wines that you can’t get unless you know somebody.”
The wine purveyor and restaurateur turned the phrase into an acronym, and “Highly Allocated, Spoiled Rotten” became HASR Bistro. The restaurant offers a country-style European-American bistro experience with a menu crafted by executive chef and co-owner Rodney Uyehara. While the bistro opened its doors Oct. 3 and has served a growing word-of-mouth following, it will celebrate its official grand opening Jan. 20.
“The general public wanted a place where they can experience quality food and the fine-dining atmosphere without having to pay so much for it,” says Kakazu. “That’s why we came up with the country-style aspect, where there are no limitations.”
Located in downtown Honolulu, HASR Bistro is flanked by two public parking lots and plenty of street parking, so getting there is a breeze. In addition to the indoor dining tables and spacious bar area, the bistro also offers seating in an adjacent courtyard filled with shade trees and umbrellas, and even a small water fountain.
Diners also may take advantage of the eatery’s private dining area, in which HASR Bistro offers a “Chinatown Laundry” experience modeled after that of Napa Valley’s French Laundry restaurant in California’s wine country. Groups of 10 to 20 diners can enjoy prix fixe menus that start at $75 per person, and are crafted to accommodate any special event or gathering.
“It gives you the impression that you’re sitting on somebody’s patio,” says Kakazu of the tranquil, private dining space, which also includes a small water fountain.
Customers rave about Uyehara’s menu, which incorporates classic European cuisine from across the region and serves up hearty portions. Lunch favorites include Osso Bucco – Sans Os ($16), which features braised Wisconsin veal cheeks, Hamakua mushroom risotto in a natural sauce, and Maryland Crab Reuben Sandwich ($15) with melted Swiss cheese, caramelized Maui onions and tarragon aioli on toasted focaccia bread.
“We decided to go with the concept of a European bistro because it gave us much more flexibility when creating the menu,” Uyehara says. “You’ll see a lot of Italian pastas, French food, German food — we’ve got a wide range of country-style bistro food. The key to what we do here is that we use a lot of fresh herbs, many of which come from our garden out front and from my typical shopping in Chinatown.”
HASR Bistro offers French Onion Soup ($7 for a cup, $9 for a bowl) with double beef broth and a four-cheese gratin that is served throughout the day.
Chef’s Cioppino ($27) headlines the dinner selections, and serves up scallops, prawns, calamari, mussels, clams, crab and fish in a zesty saffron tomato clam broth. Grilled Colorado Lamb Chops ($28) are cooked to perfection, and are accompanied by roasted eggplant and goat cheese moussaka and surrounded by a pomegranate sauce.
Diners may complement their meals with wine purchased from HASR Wine Co., located just steps away from the bistro. And customers may bring their own wine for a $15 corkage fee.
HASR Bistro also serves up live entertainment from some of Hawaii’s top performers. Visit the website HASRBistro.com for an updated schedule of upcoming performances and special events.
31 N. Pauahi St., Honolulu
Lunch, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday
Happy Hour, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday
Dinner, 5:30 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday
Bar remains open until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.