Celebrate Fresco’s second birthday with its tasty, new menu

Columns Foodie Fare

July 20, 2014

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

Fresco Italian Restaurant is turning two, and to celebrate, it has cooked up a three-course menu.

The Happy Second Anniversary Three-Course Special ($55, plus tax and gratuity) begins with Zuppa Di Porri, a chilled potato leek soup with Maui onions, garlic, Yukon gold potatoes and chicken stock, topped with créme fraiche. Bruschetta, generously topped with local tomatoes and parmigiano reggiano cheese, is served on the side. Executive chef Rodhel Ibay has very specific instructions on how to eat this dish:

“I wanted to make it fun. The customer should pour (the contents of the bruschetta) into the soup and use it as a dip. It comes out very good.”

The result is a creamy blend that is perfectly complemented by the crunchy slice of bread.

For the main course, diners have a tough choice to make. One option is Ravioli Di Aragosta, which features ravioli stuffed with lobster and Maui onion. It’s flavored with sea salt and basil oil, and accented with local tomatoes and orange zest. Finally, the dish is topped with succulent lobster claws. The second choice is Papperdelle Vitello Invotini, which presents hand-rolled papperdelle pasta with rolled veal in a porcini mushroom cream sauce. As a sumptuous addition, the dish is topped with summer truffle.

Affogato alla Cioccolata, a cocoa foam vanilla gelato, topped with toasted macadamia nuts, and served with a chocolate-drizzled biscotti, completes the dish.

“This is a very strong cocoa that’s poured on the vanilla gelato,” Ibay explains.

The anniversary menu is available now, and will be featured for at least the next couple of months.

Just as Fresco celebrates its anniversary, the restaurant also is a great place to host your own special occasions, including wedding receptions, birthday parties and company gatherings. The eatery can customize party menus based on your needs.

On the Side

In creating a special menu to celebrate Fresco Italian Restaurant’s second anniversary, executive chef Rodhel Ibay says he and his kitchen staff were happy to do it. The culinary team attempts to introduce new menu items every few months, and jumps at any chance to be creative in the kitchen.

“I like creating things,” he says. “I’ll just try something and see how it comes out.”

For Fresco’s anniversary menu, Ibay wanted to feature local ingredients blended with traditional Italian concepts — something he likes to do with all his dishes.

“I try to infuse everything with local products,” says Ibay, who has been cooking for more than 20 years, and has helped launch a number of local eateries, including Kapono’s and Formaggio Grill, before becoming part of Fresco’s original crew.

The eatery utilizes a range of local products, including tomatoes and greens from Ho Farms and Kahuku Farms, among others. Ibay also frequents the fish auction to gather fresh fish.

“Sustainability is important,” Ibay says, “and we are trying to help out.”

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Fresco Italian Restaurant

Hilton Hawaiian Village
2005 Kalia Road, Honolulu
Daily, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (lunch); 5-9:30 p.m. (dinner); 5-7 p.m. and 9-10:30 p.m. (happy hour)
Note: Fresco can validate parking for up to four hours.

Honolulu, HI 96815

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