Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Hoku’s at the Kahala Hotel & ResortRestaurant Insider
August 13, 2023
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: THE KAHALA HOTEL & RESORT and ANNE LEE
For one exclusive night, The Kahala Hotel & Resort’s executive chef Jonathan Mizukami’s Huakai Chef Series ($295) returns to Hoku’s featuring one-starred Michelin chef/owner Rodney Wages of Avery in San Francisco.
In Hawaiian, huakai means “to travel, voyage.” Chef Jonathan’s vision for these collaborations is to have talented chefs travel from all over the world to create an experience for guests in the community that he calls home, Hawaii.
I had a chance to get a sneak peek of a few dishes that will be on the menu from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 2. Be sure to make a reservation before it sells out.
AL: Chef Jonathan, can you describe chef Rodney’s cooking style?
JM: Chef Rodney and I worked together at French Laundry, where the menu changes daily and offers a full vegetarian menu. He brings a playful style. When you are at the fine dining level, it’s good to bring that to the table. Chef Rodney was also the king of vegetables and head of garde manger, so he knows his way around vegetables.
Our cooking style is similar and when in a kitchen it’s important to have that synergy. I’m excited to have him here as he will bring a different interpretation to our local resources.
AL: Chef Rodney, can you tell me more about your restaurant, Avery?
RW: We are located in the jazz district in San Francisco, right across from The Fillmore and a street down from Japan Center, in which you will see families and lots of life, where artistry is everywhere.
It’s an intimate restaurant with six tables. We want to limit it to about 16 guests maximum so we can make sure we give each guest attention to detail.
The name Avery came from the American modern painter Milton Avery. Our style is bright, bold and imaginative. Each dish is like a work of art. Each implement, like our chopsticks, is hand carved.
Although San Francisco is going through a hard time now, we have been here for 15 years and are still proud to be there and do not plan on leaving. We will be opening a restaurant in Scotland (expected to open in 2024) and will be bringing a San Francisco fine-dining perspective to Scotland. Go to our website and social media (@chefrodneywages) to keep updated.
AL: What will be on the menu? JM: Starters are Tomato Martini (raw sesame and island herbs) created by chef Rodney, and Sour Poi Waffle (crème fraîche, smoked trout roe, sweet herbs and dill pollen) by me.
The mains are Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna (tuna tonnato, anchovy garum, baby greens, torn tuna, fermented pineapple, makrut lime, smoked crème fraîche, caviar and ahi tuna “bones” seasoned with bonito vinegar) and Charcoal Grilled Maui Nui Venison (sweet garlic, Kona abalone XO and grilled turnip), created by chef Rodney; Molokai Sweet Potato Agnolotti (braised sweet potato leaves, toasted Hamakua macadamia nuts and foie gras emulsion) created by me; and Kona Lobster (Hawaiian hearts of palm, marinated Ho Farms tomatoes, spicy basil and coconut yogurt broth) created by both of us.
For dessert, I made the Kuia Chocolate Mousse (chocolate biscuit, lilikoi and hazelnut praline).