Young grasshopper gourmet

Columns Veg'n Out

May 25, 2014

Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

Long before Donald Trump (and his hair) began deciding who was fired and not fired on national television, the concept of The Apprentice was much more than a reality show — it was a way of life. Countless examples throughout history exist of this unique, symbiotic system of learning.

When America was settled, the tradesmen flocking from Europe brought with them the practice of master-apprentice relationships. In Greek mythology, the word “mentor” actually came from Homer’s Odyssey, where Athena took over the body of the character Mentor in order to guide young Telemachus through a time of difficulty.

Gurus within Hinduism and Buddhism alongside Rabbis and Elders of Judaism, Christianity’s example of Jesus discipling the chosen twelve — even the Kung Fu master and his “Young Grasshopper,” — each show the significant worth of such an up-close education.

No stranger to such teaching methods is JJ Luangkhot, owner and chef of JJ Bistro & French Pastry. “First, I was trained by my mother to be a cook. Then I fell in love with cooking, and the art of it became my passion,” explains Luangkhot.

A fusion of French and Laotian fare, Luangkhot’s entrees exude the clever craftsmanship and exacting artistry that his mentor took such effort instilling within him. From pot pies presented with golden, buttery pillows of house-made puff pastry to decadent tarts tinged with just the perfect pairing of sweetness and substance, it’s the delicious attention to detail and mouthwatering mastery of method that mark Luangkhot’s offerings among Oahu’s elite.

Here are some masterpieces thrilling patron’s palates this week:

Asian Classic ($12.95) showcases rice pasta, baby corn, shiitake mushrooms and red bell peppers blanketed in a rich, yet light, roasted garlic cream sauce that just begs to be savored. When ordering, please indicate to your server that you’d like the veggie version, as a seafood version ($14.95) also is available.

Cheese Ravioli ($12.95) offers homemade ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese, zucchini, eggplant, red bell pepper and carrots with a tomato base exquisitely wrapped in ravioli — a fresh, flavor burst abounding in every bite. Lobster meat may also be added ($14.95).

Veggie Quiche ($7.50) is a golden encrusted assortment of vegetables, egg cream and cheese, served with side salad and Chef’s homemade ginger sesame dressing (also available with ham and cheese).

Aside from these savories, Luangkhot is quick to point out that, “JJ’s always has a special four-course meal available, and it’s the best deal in the nation, with more than 45 desserts to choose from, plus a complimentary creme brulee!” And for this month only, patrons purchasing a four-course meal receive one complimentary baked oyster. Those buying a $50 gift card also receive one free dessert.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that, “The Artist always has the masters in his eyes.” And after sampling these selections, it’s safe to say that Luangkhot and his exquisite culinary canvas have yet to lose sight of his guru’s guidance.

Contact Andy Beth Miller at diningout@staradvertiser.com

JJ Bistro & Fresh Pastry

3447 Waialae Ave., Honolulu
11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily

Honolulu, HI 96816

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best