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Fine Wines and Fare at Formaggio

Columns Foodie Fare

April 20, 2014

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

Within an intimate, casual setting, Formaggio Wine Bar in Market City Shopping Center offers stellar Italianand French-inspired cuisine — and, of course, a wide selection of wine.

While the menu focuses primarily on European eats, owner Niraj Maskey says there are a variety of fusion creations spotlighted as well. Crispy Pork Belly Tacos ($13.99), served with a side salad with balsamic dressing, is a prime example.

“We boil the pork first,” Maskey says. “Then we bake it until it gets crispy, adding Sriracha aioli coleslaw.”

If you fancy French decadence, Maskey recommends Escargot Bleu ($14.50) flavored with bleu cheese and garlic butter, and served with baguette.

Patrons love pau hana, and Crab Cakes is a tasty pupu that pairs beautifully with Formaggio’s many wines. Priced at $13.99, breaded Crab Cakes features blue crab meat, bell peppers, carrots and celery drizzled with a creamy mustard sauce.

Another customer favorite is Foie Gras Crostini ($17.99) presented on a bed of caramelized onions and apples, and accented with a red wine reduction sauce.

Lastly, there’s always room for dessert. Formaggio Wine Bar’s Flour-less Chocolate Cake is a great choice, as it’s served with a scoop of Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream.

On the Side

Before taking over Formaggio Wine Bar about two years ago, owner Niraj Maskey used to frequent the eatery as a customer. He loved the food and the atmosphere so much that it seemed destined he take the reins.

“I always wanted to open a restaurant. And I saw this opportunity, so I decided to go for it,” says Maskey, who managed a string of restaurants prior to Formaggio.

Under Maskey’s leadership, the menu has undergone a few changes, including the addition of curry and revamp of its wine list. Currently, patrons can pick from a list of more than 80 wines.

“We added a lot of different wines,” he explains, noting that in addition to the menu’s wine selection, diners can choose from an ever-changing specials list.

And perhaps because Maskey used to be a customer himself, Formaggio puts a lot of stock in customer opinion. In fact, when choosing new wines, Maskey often asks his regular patrons what they like.

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Formaggio Wine Bar

Market City Shopping Center
2919 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 106, Honolulu
Monday–Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-midnight
Friday–Saturday, 5:30 p.m-1 a.m.
Sunday, 5-11 p.m.

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