Eatable MasterpiecesInside Feature
November 18, 2018
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
Offering a tranquil and inviting setting surrounded with sculptures and a gentle, cascading water feature, Honolulu Museum of Art Cafe is truly a hidden gem that transports guests away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.
While it’s a full-scale restaurant with an array of food, beverage and dessert items, the Cafe is called such due to its relaxed, inviting vibe. Located in the courtyard of the Honolulu Museum of Art at 900 S. Beretania St., diners can enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by executive chef Robert Paik and the Cafe’s talented, friendly team.
Pepper-Crusted Seared Ahi Salad ($22) is a new addition to the Cafe’s eclectic menu. Fresh, seared ahi is prepared perfectly atop a bed of Waipoli greens, baby arugula with peppery notes, diced avocado, diced papaya and Hauula tomatoes, and is dressed with a zesty papaya seed dressing.
Greens and Grains ($17) is another popular salad option, as Waipoli greens, Italian farro grains, shaved local vegetables, grown hydroponically, are layered and accented with house-made sourdough toast with Hawaiian honey white balsamic vinaigrette.
“I try to utilize a lot of local ingredients and we use fresh, local fish — as much as possible, we highlight how amazing food in Hawaii can be,” says Paik. “All of our items are cooked to order, so we’re never pre-cooking something and warming it up later. I really wanted to bring the artistry that you find at the museum to the cuisine, and it’s great to showcase some different techniques to make the food visually as exciting as it is delicious to eat.”
In homage to an artist’s paint palette, Grilled Market Vegetables with Grilled Chicken ($24) features an array of flavors and vibrant colors accented with grill marks to complete the masterpiece. Grilled peppers, zucchini and corn are just a few of the featured fresh vegetables, which are accompanied by a Romesco sauce that is perfect for dipping.
Pan-Seared Atlantic Salmon ($22) is prepared in a classic French style to showcase the quality and richness of the salmon. The perfectly cooked fish is flanked by Italian farro salad, baby arugula and fresh herb chimichurri, which Paik spent more than two years perfecting.
“Our cuisine is enjoyable, but not so heavy that you want to take a nap after eating,” says Paik. “The food is refreshing and energizing — it makes you feel good.”
Honolulu Museum of Art Cafe also serves an array of beverages including Passion-Orange-Guava Juice, Tropical Iced Tea and House-made Ginger Lemonade ($3.50 apiece), and as an inside scoop for Dining Out readers, ask for an “Arnold Palmer” ($3.50), which couples the aforementioned iced tea and lemonade for a refreshing blend of flavors. The Cafe also offers an extensive beer and wine menu, including Sparkling Brut, Roederer Estate ($24 half bottle, two glasses).
Brunch is also available on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., as diners can enjoy everything from Classic Eggs Benedict ($17), Ham and Cheddar Omelette ($16), Steak and Eggs ($19), Belgian Waffle ($15) and more.
A few courtyards away from the Cafe, guests can also enjoy specialty beverages, freshly brewed coffee and various treats — including the must-try chocolate chip cookies — at the Honolulu Museum of Art Coffee Bar (open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
Diners can also discover a unique dining experience at the Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House, which offers sprawling views of Honolulu from its perch at 2411 Makiki Heights Drive. The Spalding House Cafe is open Tuesday-Sunday and guests may order a la carte selections as well as picnic sets, which can be enjoyed on the picturesque grounds. For menu items and more information, call 237-5225.