All Aboard For A New Dining ExperienceCover Story Features
October 30, 2016
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
Those who have been anxiously awaiting news on Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki’s ongoing renovation, which includes revamping its dining offerings, will be excited to hear that the hotel is just weeks away from opening its new restaurant space, 100 Sails, on Nov. 21.
The unveiling of the brand-new dining venue, located in the former Prince Court restaurant space, is the first new-and-improved aspect of the hotel’s overall $55.4 million renovation to be introduced to the public, with the total transformation expected to be complete in spring 2017.
In line with the new direction the hotel is cruising toward, 100 Sails begins its culinary navigation with a strong sense of place, firmly anchored to the hotel’s waterfront location that boasts stunning views of Ala Wai Harbor and an endless sea of sailboats. The restaurant’s name also connects to its address at 100 Holomoana St., as the street name translates to “seafarer” or “to sail,” according to hotel manager Randi Fernandez.
When looking back at the history of the surrounding area, Hawaii Prince Hotel found that fresh water from nearby valleys converged in Piinaio Stream leading to the estuary upon which the building stands today. The brackish-water was home to hinana, or baby oopu fish, which was a delicacy reserved only for royalty. Letting that history set the tone for the new dining experience, 100 Sails will focus on serving fresh island cuisine of the highest quality.
Alongside the expertise of executive chef Kirby Wong, newly appointed chef de cuisine Joseph Almoguera is stepping into the captain’s seat of this new kitchen. Almoguera assures loyal patrons who used to frequent Prince Court that their favorite buffet items, from prime rib to crab legs, will still be offered at 100 Sails, but there also will be a more diverse menu to choose from with more attention given to the refinement of dishes.
“We’re refocusing on quality and using a lot more local ingredients,” shares Almoguera. “So we’re sourcing a lot of things from the Big Island and using more of the farms here (on Oahu), like ‘Nalo Farms. We always had fish before, but now we’re switching it up and using fresh catches all the time. We’re trying to use everything from the Islands.”
Diners will be able to revel in this fresh and elegant fare in the confines of a modern dining space that boasts natural-wood design elements and a brand-new bar as its centerpiece. With buffet, a-la-carte and small-bites menus, there will be something for everyone, from the single diner to large families.
“We’ll have a lounge area by the bar, too, so if guests only want to come in for small bites, they can do that, but if they want to sit there and have a buffet, they can do that too. It gives more variety and people can come in and out and not have to worry,” explains Fernandez. “It’s very much about convenience.”
Almoguera’s passion and creativity shines in the small-bites menu, which offers pupu-style dishes that range from $8 to $20 and showcase local flavors enhanced with a tasty touch of innovation. Poke Tempura, for instance, spotlights sashimi-grade ahi paired with a poi-balsamic reduction sauce.
“I got the idea for that when I was living on the Big Island, so my inspiration was fish and poi,” says Almoguera. “I made traditional poke, but for the poi, I reduced it with some balsamic and brown sugar, so it’s a little bit sweet and sour. I think it matches really well with the fish.”
Customers also can look forward to Tako Taco, beautifully presented with swirls of grilled octopus tucked into crispy wonton tacos accented with soy reduction and tobiko. And you won’t be able to resist Oxtail Dumplings, bringing together macadamia nuts, Hamakua mushrooms, cilantro and braised oxtail dumplings delicately floating in a star anise oxtail broth.
100 Sails will open just in time for the holidays and reservations are filling up quickly for the inaugural Thanksgiving buffet to be held in the new space. And as the overall hotel renovation continues to take shape, diners can look forward to Honolulu Coffee Co. and Katsu Midori Sushi Tokyo soon to debut. Hawaii Prince Hotel also will be updating its banqueting facilities,-giving yet another reason to dive into its top-notch dining services.
Meet The Captain and his skippers
Who’s the man steering the ship at the soon-to-launch 100 Sails restaurant? None other than Guam-born-and-raised Joseph Almoguera, who brings a wealth of culinary experience to his new role as chef de cuisine at Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki.
“I’ve been cooking for over 20 years. My cooking career started in Guam and then I had an opportunity to move to the Big Island in ’99, and (my career) just snowballed from there,” he says.
Prior to joining the Hawaii Prince team in 2013, Almoguera had worked for John Taiyo’s Cuisine Corporation, Kuakini Health System, Hilton Waikoloa Village and The Fairmont Orchid, in addition to serving as executive sous chef at Waikoloa Beach Marriott for six years. When creating 100 Sails’ menu of fresh island cuisine, Almoguera says he couldn’t have done it without the help of his kitchen crew.
“I have a really great team. They give me a lot of support and vice versa. Everybody is on this positive road to creating new dishes and everybody’s helping each other out, and I think that’s what inspires me to make good food,” he shares.
True to 100 Sails’ mission to offer the freshest in upscale island fare, Bouillabaisse from the small-bites menu is made with locally sourced seafood almost entirely from Big Island — including abalone, kampachi and Kona lobster. And while the prawn is from Kauai, it’s a local ingredient too. The dish is finished with a bright and flavorful Laotian-style seafood consomme.
Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki
100 Holomoana St., Waikiki
As of Nov. 21: Breakfast daily, 6-10:30 a.m.; Lunch Monday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Dinner daily, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Sunday brunch, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Bar and lounge: Sunday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-11 p.m.