A Deal You Don’t Want To MissCover Story
December 2, 2018
Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: Chef Chai
Each year, foodies all over Oahu look forward to Restaurant Week as eagerly as hula aficionados anticipate the Merrie Monarch. The weeklong festival, which takes place each November, is a mouthwatering celebration of Hawaii’s unique cuisine.
Though November has come and gone, one popular participating restaurant will continue to offer its special Restaurant Week menu, developed just for the event, in a unique and unusual deal. Chef Chai will make its Restaurant Week Set available exclusively by gift certificate for just $52, the same price charged during the celebration.
Inspired by the youthful faces he saw in his dining room during the 10-day event, owner Chai Chaowasaree realized that his Restaurant Week menu provided a cost-efficient way for young diners to experience his cuisine. “Every day, we sold out two full seatings,” he says. “Guests loved it because it’s a good deal, and all our signature items are on the menu.”
At $52, this is a superb supper at a spectacular price. The elegant meal begins with Chicken Tenderloin Sate with Thai Peanut Sauce, Asian Flat Bread and Cucumber Salad. Chai’s interpretation of the simple starter is flawless. Next, a sampler of the restaurant’s best-loved appetizers — Kataifi and Macadamia Nut Crusted Jumbo Black Tiger Prawns, Fresh Ahi Tartar with Avocado Mousse in Miniature Waffle Cones, Gravlax Salmon Roulade with Cream Cheese and Crabmeat, and Smoked Duck Tacos with Spicy Mango Salsa.
Entree choices for the Restaurant Week set highlight four of Chef Chai’s legends. The Deconstructed Beef Tenderloin Wellington is a savory wonder, enhanced by Merlot demi glaze and sides of mashed potatoes, haricots verts, and baby carrots. Chai’s Mongolian Style Lamb Chops with a brandy demi-glaze, accompanied by mashed potatoes and stir-fried sugar snap peas, present another intriguing option, as does Grilled Kobayaki New Zealand King Salmon, married spectacularly with spicy vegetables sauteeed with pineapple. The last entree on the list is Chai’s Grilled Portobello Mushroom Napoleon, which comes with tomato, pumpkin, spinach and bell peppers crowned with zucchini and fresh basil — it’s bright with color and flavor.
Chef Chai’s desserts always delight, and the Restaurant Week set choices are no exception. Sweethearts will smile at the White Chocolate Amore Truffle with raspberry guava puree. The Coconut Cheesecake is accompanied by creme anglaise infused with Tahitian vanilla. Its enchanting floral notes are subtle but unmistakable. And Honey Cream Pineapple, grown exclusively at Frankie’s Nursery in Waimanalo, provides an irresistible option for those who have never sampled this exotic new fruit.
Celebrate The Season
Chef Chai’s private room, which seats 26, is ideal for intimate, elegant gatherings. The $1,500 minimum includes food and beverages, and groups may order from set menus or a la carte. “It’s the perfect room for a holiday party,” says owner Chai Chaowasaree, adding that groups who rent the space may use it for the entire day. “People can set up and decorate beforehand, and linger after their meals. They can stay as long as they want.”
Everyone Loves Food
If you’re stumped when it’s time to play Santa, Chef Chai’s gift certificates make the perfect presents! For just $80, you can receive a $100 gift card (redeemable for one year after purchase) that fits handily in any Christmas stocking — that’s a $20 discount on each card. But hurry, gift cards will only be available at this unbeatable price now through Christmas Eve.