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Cover Story

April 8, 2024

Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

Known for its unique dining culture, The Kahala Hotel & Resort boasts a slew of on-site eateries for patrons to enjoy. The property’s restaurants feature numerous menu options that are sure to please all palates. Whether it’s grabbing a casual bite to eat at Plumeria Beach House or indulging in fine dining at Hoku’s, The Kahala Hotel & Resort has it all.
We had the chance to speak to the resort’s executive chef Jonathan Mizukami, to learn more about the resort’s 60th anniversary specialty items, which are available through the end of the year.

DO: Can you elaborate on The Kahala’s 60th anniversary specialty items?
JM: With Kahala having such a long legacy, we chose dishes that have been favorites on the menu throughout our 60-year history.
At Hoku’s — Ahi Poke Musubi, Sautéed Kauai Shrimp, Duck Waialae, Hoku’s Warm Chocolate Coolant ($125-plus, four courses).
At Plumeria Beach House, for breakfast — Plumeria Omelet ($28), Delicate Thin Pancakes ($22), Hawaiian Sweet Bread ($24), Corned Beef Hash ($28), Island Papaya Sunrise ($22) and Hawaiian Style Açai Bowl ($22).
For lunch — Fried Ahi Poke Musubi ($27), Broiled Misoyaki Butterfish ($42), Crispy Wok Fried Prawns ($39), Chef’s Onion Soup ($16), Curry Chicken Salad in Papaya ($24) and Kahala House Salad ($16).
For dinner — Fried Ahi Poke Musubi ($27), Chef’s Onion Soup ($16), Kahala House Salad ($16), Wok Fried Whole Fish (market price), Broiled Misoyaki Butterfish ($45) and Crispy Wok Fried Prawns ($42).
For in-room dining — not including dishes already mentioned — Kahala Signature Bento ($47), Kahala Chocolate Mousse Cake ($16), Kahala Classic Coconut Cake ($16) and Kahala Signature Bread Pudding ($16).

DO: Why were these dishes chosen for the 60th anniversary?
JM: With the 60th anniversary for The Kahala Hotel & Resort, I had conversations with workers who worked in the Maile Room. A colleague fondly remembers the Duck Waialae, a tropical take on duck l’orange. Another dish they remembered was the Sautéed Sunfish with squid ink pasta and saffron sauce. I took that concept and modernized it with use of Kauai shrimp, housemade squid ink pasta and tomato saffron emulsion. The dish was remembered to be unique and with a vibrant color. The squid ink pasta stands out against the bright orange saffron sauce.

DO: What’s your favorite 60th anniversary dish and why?
JM: My favorite anniversary dish is the Sautéed Kauai Prawns with squid ink pasta (call for cost) and tomato saffron emulsion because the classic combination of flavors works really well together. I really enjoy making fresh pasta and have always loved to eat squid ink pasta.

DO: Can you tell us more about your new Hawaiian-style buffet?
JM: Our new Hawaiian-style buffet, Paina, meaning “a small dinner party” in Hawaiian, offers authentic Hawaiian cuisine at Plumeria Beach House. The buffet is available Sunday nights and during our The Kahala Initiative for Sustainability, Culture and the Arts (KISCA) music events. We wanted to showcase delicious Hawaiian foods and get more in touch with Hawaiian culture. The price is $68 for adults and $45 for children ages 6-12.

DO: What buffet item do you recommend and why?
JM: We recommend the Kalua Pig with Lomi Lomi Tomato Salmon because the flavor combinations blend well together. The smoky kalua pig, the freshness and acidity of tomatoes, and the earthiness of the poi binds everything together in one perfect bite.

DO: What kind of collaborative events do you have in store for 2024?
JM: We have a Huakai Wine Dinner upcoming on April 10, featuring Daou Vineyards. I curated an extraordinary coursed dinner and pairing of Daou’s finest wines for this event.
Our Huakai Chef Dinner is on July 13, featuring chef Chung Chow. Chef Chow is from Hawaii and has worked with Per Se in New York. He now has his own restaurant in New York called Noreetuh. I never had the chance to work with him when we both worked for Thomas Keller. I have always heard great things about him, and we are excited to finally get the opportunity to cook together. It is fun to have two local boys venturing out of state to work for Michelin Star restaurants and voyaging back home to make a meal together.

DO: What makes dining at The Kahala so special?
JM: We prioritize showcasing local ingredients and use mainly local products on our menu. Our restaurants have something for everyone, appeasing all different palates. The team really cares and enjoys what they do, and we strive to offer an unforgettable experience for guests to create happy memories. We have a lot of new and exciting events and exclusive menu items coming up to celebrate The Kahala Hotel & Resort’s 60th anniversary.

5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

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Hawaii's Best