Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Noe at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko OlinaRestaurant Insider
October 24, 2021
Story By: Anne Lee |
ANNE LEE Noe general manager WESLEY JOHNSTON and executive chef RYO TAKATSUKA
Where can you find a Michelin-starred Japanese-Italian chef fluent in both languages here on Oahu? Noe at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. Executive chef Ryo Takatsuka, who grew up in Toyama, a coastal city along the Sea of Japan, was always curious about cooking.
His move to Tuscany ignited his passion for Italian cuisine, and he worked alongside some of the greatest Italian chefs, such as Giancarlo Perbellini, and helped his restaurant earn two Michelin stars.
Noe general manager Wesley Johnston joined chef Ryo and I, as we shared some wonderful new dishes that have been added to the menu and talked about what’s new and exciting since reopening its doors in March.
AL: What makes Noe’s Italian food different and unique?
RT: The concept here is southern Italian, but with touches of Milan, a touch of Japanese and sourcing the best ingredients that I can find and incorporating local ingredients as much as possible.
WJ: The menu consists of chef Ryo’s journey while in Italy, starting in the south in Rome at La Terrazza, one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Italy. The Noe Signature Tagliatelle flavors are represented here. Then, we travel north toward Tuscany to Florence, where the flavors for our meat dishes come from. Then over to Verona and Bellini, where we have the Veal Milanese flavors from this region. We head south, where there are fresh, crispy, refreshing dishes, such as our new menu item, the local Kampachi Crudo. In northern Italy, the winters are harsh, so you will see richer, more comfort hearty options.
AL: What do you want guests to take away from their experience dining here?
WJ: We like to pay attention to detail. We really want to bring the Italian culture and experience to our guests. A lot of the dishes that you see on our menu, you do not see offered elsewhere on the island. We are Hawaii, Japan and Italy, which also happens to be sources for fresh fish, and represent each heritage through the cuisine.
AL: Please tell me about the new menu items.
RT: The first dish, which is also Wesley’s favorite, is our locally sourced Ahi Tonnato Carpaccio ($21). This features tuna confit aioli, brioche, capers, local sea asparagus and limu salsa verde. The Burrata ($21) is always on the menu, which is gluten-free and vegetarian, but this one is made with Noe exclusive extra-virgin olive oil, chilled tomato consommé and Ho Farms tomatoes. I have also prepared the Saffron Campanelle ($34) made with king crab, zucchini and lemon.
Our Filet Mignon ($67) is prepared with seasonal accompaniments, which we paired with our Crognolo Sangiovese ($28 by the glass).
We kept some of our signature items from the previous menu, such as my personal favorite, the Noe Signature Tagliatelle ($34).
It’s our homemade tagliatelle pasta with seasonal truffles, mushrooms and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
We also have our Lobster Spaghetti ($68) made with our homemade spaghetti pasta, with spicy pomodoro, opal basil and Calabrian chile, and our popular Veal Milanese ($70), served with truffle arugula salad and cherry tomatoes. I have also added a Chicken “Marsala” dish ($45). It’s a very Italian-American dish, but this is my version made with kale, pignolia, maitake and a marsala-mushroom jus.
AL: What does chef Ryo’s tasting menu consist of?
RT: This is a four-course daily selection ($115) that I change based on what ingredients are fresh and available, which I personally select. It starts with a fish appetizer, then a pasta — depending on what I want to prepare, it could be a king crab pasta, or a traditional pasta — then a protein that could be a filet or a fresh local fish, then a dessert of your choice. We have a wine pairing selection that you can add for an additional $55.
AL: Anything else you’d like to share about the restaurant?
WJ: We have a beautiful outdoor dining venue, in addition to our indoor dining options.
We just recently won another Best of Award of Excellence two glass Wine Spectator award, and we are very proud of that as there are only seven restaurants in Hawaii with this accolade — and only 1,141 restaurants in the world that has this ranking. This award is based on wine lists that display multiple winegrowing regions, offering over 350 or more selections. We select wines based on what we feel would pair best with our menu offerings.
The Grand Award, the three glass Wine Spectator awards, are very rare. Those that win this award have over 10,000 labels offered and there are none in Hawaii. Hopefully, that is something that we can try to accomplish while I am here.
AL: Any fun facts most people wouldn’t know about the restaurant?
WJ: Our bartender, Michael Milligan, has been here since we first opened. He is talented and super passionate. He makes our limoncello from scratch.
He has done a lot of research and worked with people from Italy and created his own recipe, using Meyer lemons, and definitely is one of the highlights of the experience here.