The Scoop on Keeping Cool

Columns Ono, You Know

September 13, 2015

Story By: Ali Resich |


There is only one way to get through a summer as hot and muggy as this one and still have a morsel of vitality left. I’ll give you a hint: It’s even better than air conditioning and involves frozen desserts — lots and lots of ice-cold treats to soothe your dried-up taste buds. Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve spent the last few months reaching for everything from ice cream, shave ice and boba milk tea, to sherbet, gelato and halo halo, just to get some sweet — and cool — relief from this heat!

Along the way, I found that we have so many gifted chefs creating sorbet, which is possibly the most refreshing but under-rated frozen dessert of them all. Sure, these scoops aren’t as creamy as ice cream, but they deserve to be in the spotlight just the same because they’re light, satisfying and more healthy. And at the Ono, You Know spots I have in store for you, sorbet is made with real fruit and nothing artificial. So if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen and head for these restaurants!

Stage Restaurant

On a scorching-hot day, when I’m lethargically walking through a sticky, sauna-like cloud, I escape to Stage Restaurant, where a frosty swirl of Citrus Honey sorbet instantly brings me back to life with zingy bursts of frozen lemon, orange and calamansi, all sweetened with Hawaiian honey.

Stage's Housemade Sorbets ($3 per scoop). Pictured are Mango Yuzu with Lime Zest, Strawberry Banana Sherbet and Citrus Honey.

Stage’s Housemade Sorbets ($3 per scoop). Pictured are Mango Yuzu with Lime Zest, Strawberry Banana Sherbet and Citrus Honey.

This creative flavor combination is just one of many modern yet classic desserts pastry chef Cainan Sabey has up his sleeve, perfectly supplementing executive chef Ron De Guzman’s contemporary Asian-American cuisine.

Sabey started at Stage in 2007 and worked his way up from his former role as pastry sous chef. In the realm of sweet endings, there’s one thing he’s especially passionate about: “I have a thing for making frozen desserts — ice creams and sor-bets,” he reveals, adding that he’s honed his craft for more than 15 years.

On this sizzling day, it’s the sorbets I’m after. “Right now, I’m doing a lot of fruity, more tropical sorbets,” Sabey tells me. “For my sorbets, I like to switch it up. Like for a mango sorbet, I throw in mango, yuzu and lime zest to get more flavors into one (dessert).”

The pastry chef’s seasonal flavors are made from scratch and feature pure, fresh ingredients. As we chatted, I reveled in his soft and smooth Strawberry Banana Sherbet, made extra luscious with a touch of cream.

Stage’s Housemade Sorbets are available by the scoop ($2). While enjoying these desserts, be sure to ask about the eatery’s monthly themed dinner parties, which harmoniously fuse music and fine dining.

Stage Restaurant
Honolulu Design Center
1250 Kapiolani Blvd.

3660 On The Rise

Recently, I was lucky enough to sit down with executive chef and co-owner Russell Siu of 3660 On The Rise to learn about — and sample, of course — the house of Pacific Rim dining’s homemade sorbets.

According to Chef Russell, decision to take whatever fresh fruit is in season and transform it into a heavenly Sorbet Triology ($8.75) was an easy one.

3660 On The Rise's Sorbet Trilogy ($8.75)

3660 On The Rise’s Sorbet Trilogy ($8.75)

“We wanted something that would be light for people and gluten-free,” he says. “And after a heavy meal and you’re full, sorbet always satisfies everyone.”

3660’s sorbet selection rotates periodically, and when I stopped by, unadulterated and unexpected flavors of honeydew, watermelon and orange delighted me to no end — as if I were eating the cold, juicy fruits themselves. But what I love most about these sorbets is that they’re reminiscent of shave ice, with a slightly icy consistency — man oh man, are they good!

Adding to their yumminess, Sorbet Triology is served on beds of puffy merengue, with a crisp tuile cracker shaped like a spoon on top. Finish it off with some fresh berries, and you’ve got a world of textures to enjoy alongside the sorbet’s bright flavors.

3660 On The Rise
3660 Waialae Ave.

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best