Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: La Mer at Halekulani HotelRestaurant Insider
August 27, 2023
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANNE LEE
La Mer at Halekulani Hotel is a place where people can have a one-of-a-kind, exquisite dining experience in Hawaii. Executive chef Alexandre Trancher brings a refreshing approach to French cuisine and implements lighter profiles, yet keeps that traditional French influence in every dish.
The upcoming special collaboration dinner — featuring a five-course tasting menu of signature dishes created by chef Alex and Thierry Voisin, chef de cuisine of Les Saisons — is Sept. 13-14 and costs $485 per person.
I had a chance to meet with chef Alex to learn about this dinner and try a few of the options that he is featuring at La Mer.
AL: You’re originally from France. How did that shape your culinary aspirations?
AT: I was born and raised in Paris, France, however, I am proud to say that I am now an American citizen. I did learn my basic culinary techniques in France, however, living in various destinations, like Greece and Japan, helped to create my style of kitchen. All chefs have mentors. My mentors — I have had several — gave me inspiration, techniques and motivation to strive to always do better.
AL: Can you tell me what La Mer brings to the Hawaii dining scene?
AT: With Halekulani’s history of gracious hospitality, we must always keep in mind the tastes and preferences of the client. At La Mer, we are constantly striving to find the best and freshest ingredients for our guests. It is the combination of the cuisine and service that makes dining at La Mer an unforgettable experience.
AL: There is an upcoming Imperial Dinner event in September. Can you tell me more details?
AT: Earlier this year, I went to Japan to do the first part of the Imperial Hotel collaboration with Thierry Voisin, chef de cuisine of Les Saisons at Imperial Hotel Tokyo. It is chef Voisin’s turn to come to Hawaii.
Chef Voisin began his culinary journey at 15 years of age in Tours, France, before serving under Gerard Boyer at Boyer Les Crayeres. After becoming head chef in 1995, he maintained the restaurant’s three Michelin Star status for nine years and joined Imperial Hotel Tokyo in 2005.
This is a culinary experience unlike anything else that you can find anywhere in Hawaii. The collaboration will be taking place Sept. 13-14 at La Mer. I will be collaborating on a five-course tasting menu of signature dishes with chef Voisin.
This special epicurean event will be offered exclusively at La Mer, priced at $485 per person. The five-course menu will incorporate unique twists to classic French delicacies, featuring dishes such as Les Galets de Foie Gras de Canard de la Promenade des Anglais (Promenade des Anglais Duck Foie Gras Pebbles), Filet de Bœuf, Celeri-Rave Braise a la Truffle Jus de Bœuf (Filet Mignon, Braised Celery Root, Truffle Beef Jus) and, for dessert, Boule de Meringue et Sorbet Cerise, Gelee de Cerise (Meringue Bowl, Cherry Sorbet, Cherry Gelee).
AL: There is also a new tasting menu. Can you tell me more about it?
AT: This is a course menu that consists of some of the best-sourced items. It’s $210 per person, and additional wine pairing available for $115. It includes:
• Amuse Bouche
• Fine Lamelle de Kampachi au Beurre Blanc et Ses Caviar Tartelette au Tartare de Kampachi, Gelee Clarified de Soupe de Poisson; Fine Slice of Kampachi Beurre Blanc with Caviar Kampachi Tartare Tartelette, Clarified Fish Soup Gelee
• Chilean Sea Bass Huitre sauce Crème de Langoustine au Porto Blanc et Grains de Caviar Mousseline de Fenouils; Chilean Sea Bass Oyster, Langoustines, White Port Cream Sauce Fennel Puree
• Filet d’AgneauAux Epinards, Ragout de Pois Chiche Caviar d’Aubergine ; Lamb Filet Ballotine, Spinach-Garlic, Chickpea Ragout Eggplant Caviar
• Le Cube au Chocolat Noir de Waialua Sorbet Aux Groseilles; Waialua Dark Chocolate Red Currant Sorbet.