Designed For Fine-DiningCover Story
June 14, 2020
Story By: Nicole Monton | Photos by: Kimber Shaw, Stage Restaurant
World-inspired cuisine meets local comfort food in an alluring way at Stage Restaurant, which is known for its masterful creativity in both flavor and presentation.
“Our hope is to bring a modern yet familiar culinary experience to our guests,” says Alice Ancarani, general manager of Stage Restaurant and Amuse Wine Bar.
Now, with dine-in service resumed, the staff is ready to welcome back its longtime fans and invites first-timers to enjoy all the food and drinks it has to offer. Those familiar with Stage’s high bar of presentation can look forward to the same attention to detail in each delicious work of art. In fact, that’s where the iconic name comes from.
“(Owner) Thomas Sorensen choose the name ‘Stage’ because he envisioned the dining experience to be theatrical,” explains Ancarani.
Sorensen opened modern furniture store Honolulu Design Center — where Stage Restaurant is located — back in 2007, hoping to create a space where beauty of all sorts could come together in perfect harmony.
“Stage Restaurant became a place for the chefs to have free rein when it came to the dishes they created and served,” says Ancarani. “After the renovation in 2018, we showcased a more tropical theme that goes along with our world-inspired Asian fusion menu.”
Behind every exquisitely crafted dish at Stage Restaurant is head chef Ron de Guzman, who makes it a point to use as many area vendors and farmers as possible. That focus on buying and supporting local is evident in the Seared Island Ahi ($28) that’s packed with flavor and textures. A house BBQ spice covers each slice, which is perfectly cooked to keep that raw, fresh center. Adding to the dish are sake-lemon tomato butter, sea asparagus and crispy garlic that give a creamy juxtaposition that’ll tantalize your taste buds.
Another fish favorite is the baked Bubu Arare Crusted Glory Bay Salmon ($26), which comes with organic greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions. Topping off the dish is a whole-grain mustard vinaigrette and those oh-so-crunchy bubu arare pieces.
From the land, enjoy Roasted Duck Breast ($38), served alongside a butternut puree, Brussels sprouts, caramelized onions, applewood bacon and a Dijon jus. Or, opt for a classic Beef Wellington ($42) that’s first sous vide then baked. The pastry dough exterior is perfectly plump and crispy in all the right places. Combine that with a truffle mushroom duxelles, sautéed arugula and a demi-glace and you’ve got the perfect medley of flavors.
Amuse Wine Bar also welcomes Stage guests — or those that just want to enjoy drinks and pupus in a casual setting — to its open-seating area, and continues its special happy hour from 5 to 6 p.m. every day. In addition to the myriad bottles of vino, enjoy beers, liquors and beautifully crafted mixed drinks — the perfect respite after a long day. Noteworthy on the libations menu is the Sen Hana Martini ($16), made with Bloom gin, Roku gin, hibiscus simple, mulberry, burdock, and jasmine- and shiso-infused vermouth.
And, not to worry, Amuse also has made sure that each dining (and drinking) experience is safe for all guests.
“Our team is committed to ensuring everyone feels safe, comfortable and relaxed,” assures Ancarani.
In addition to complying with all CDC and local guidelines, Stage has implemented safe, 6-foot distancing between tables and is accepting parties of no more than 10 diners.
Guests are also required to wear their masks at all times — except when eating, of course.
“As things inevitably continue to change and develop, we are making sure that we are adapting and changing with it,” adds Ancarani. “Having the industry reopen on the island is extremely positive and exciting, and we want to make sure that our guests’ experience remains enjoyable, relaxing and fun!”