Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: GaslampRestaurant Insider
February 7, 2021
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: GASLAMP
ANNE LEE speaks with Gaslamp owner/manager JOSH VANEMMERIK
Restaurateur/entrepreneur Josh VanEmmerik’s vision for Kailua’s most exclusive craft cocktail bar started while attending college in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. Appropriately named Gaslamp, this hidden Windward side establishment features flavors sure to please every patron’s palate, as well as unique decor from the creative mind of VanEmmerik himself.
AL: Tell me about Gaslamp.
JV: We opened Sept. 11, 2017. Gaslamp was created to satisfy a niche that I felt this town needed — something fun, private and exclusive. Originally, we started as a cocktail-forward bar. Then, we felt that we could elevate the niche here and offer fine dining with high-end cocktails.
AL: Who is your executive chef?
JV:Michael Lorenzo, who previously was with The Modern Honolulu.
AL: What do you think makes Gas-lamp unique?
JV: Our goal is to make this experience one-of-a-kind for all of our guests. We also have good food and good drinks as well as great staff. The combination of this makes this place magical. As soon as you walk in, you see this huge beer tower behind the bar, then you look to the left and there is this massive bookshelf, and on top of that, you have a jazz musician playing by your table, or way high by the ceiling playing music. Everywhere you look the decor is intentional and unique.
AL: What are the bestselling items on the menu?
JV: Our A4 Dry Aged Japanese Wagyu Tomahawk aka “French Laundry” (market price) is one of our popular items. We flash sear it, then roast it. We recommend it being served medium-rare so you can experience all of the wonderful flavors. After the preparation, we hang it on our bar cart and we bring it to your table. We torch-melt butter over the top that drips into the mashed potatoes, and then we slice the meat for you tableside. We do request that you order this in advance when you make your reservation, as we sell out before we open.
The Yacht ($155) encompasses all the seafood items that we carry. This will feed a party of four. We also have a smaller option for two called The Skiff ($105).
Our Lobster Risotto ($46) is very popular. We use a Tristan da Cunha lobster tail, it’s from the most remote island in the world.
Our Diver Sea Scallops (price varies) are pretty killer. We torch a Sriracha crème that caramelizes the top of the scallops that makes it crisp, and then we top it with Siberian caviar.
AL: Tell me about your cocktails?
JV: We have 17 cocktails on the menu, but our mixologists create something called Dealer’s Choice where they create a custom cocktail for you. Our bestselling cocktail is the Triple Crown. It’s our spin on a mai tai, and it’s served in a skull glass.
AL: What are the future plans?
JV: We will be transitioning to cocktails on tap.
AL: How do you make a reservation?
JV: You can do it online at gaslamphi.com or find us on social media (@gaslamphi; Facebook and Instagram) and we will give you a password. That will be your ticket into the venue. We are hidden behind an old British pub in the heart of Kailua Town.