Friday, August 30, 2013

Arancino Kahala

Bagna Cauda

After going to both Arancino on Beachwalk HERE and Arancino di Mare HERE and HERE and loving both, I definitely wanted to check off their newest location at the Kahala Hotel as well! I heard that the menu was 4 ($85) or 5 course ($100) prix fixe with or without wine pairing ($7-$11 per glass) OR you could also order ala carte.

I made reservations online through the website which was easy and fast. Click HERE for that, or you can call Arancino Kahala directly.

After valet parking (or you may self park), we walked into Arancino. It was a beautiful day, and we were sat on their open-air patio. I adored the ambiance of the outside seating!

For 3 of us, we all decided to go with the 5 courses plus wine pairing. I suggest going with 3-4 people, because you can try more of the menu. We discussed our three dishes each for the 5 courses, and then just shared everything. Trust me, you are full after. No need to go to McDonald's to fill up!

Verdict? There were many dishes that touched our table, but only a few that really blew my mind. I loved the very first dish that was a complimentary starter- A corn and prosciutto foam that was so luscious and rich that I wished there was a full size on the menu. I also fell in love with their Crostacei di Mare dish- Abalone and Amaebi that was beautifully-arranged with a salad of flowers and leaves. Almost too pretty to eat. My favorite dish by far was their Bagna Cauda. You can find this at the other Arancino locations, but not with this presentation. Vividly-colored vegetables come "planted" in shaved cremini mushrooms camouflaged as dirt. The best part? The garlic anchovy-oil dip which is heated on the bottom. Ran out of veggies to dip? That's what the bread is for! Make sure you get every last drip of that stuff. It's amazing.

As for the Uni Pasta? Well, I anxiously awaited the return of my beloved Uni Pasta. I expected it to be extra good here at this location. Once it came in its creamy, thick, oranged glory, I couldn't wait to dig in. The pasta was literally drenched in Uni goodness. But, this dish didn't please my taste buds as it had before at Arancino di Mare. It was a little too ocean-y for my liking. Not as sweet like I remembered. On the upside, I do give them major props for the amount of Uni they throw in that dish. More than any other restaurant. 

Other memorable dishes? The Braised Short Ribs with Truffle Mashed Potatoes. I would have finished the plate by myself if I wasn't so stuffed by then! Delicate and tender, these short ribs were one of the best I've had. And lastly, be sure to save room for dessert because their Panna Cotta with housemade Hamakua Tomato Sorbet with sweet tomato compoté and gélee is unforgettable. Such a delicious way to end the meal.

I really enjoyed this dinner. It was definitely a memorable experience, and I graciously thank Arancino Kahala for giving us another Prix Fixe dining option in a beautiful open air location. I did not think it was worth $176 (with tax and tip) per person, though. Nice to try once, but I think I'm going back to their sister, Arancino di Mare, for more options, bigger portions, and a smaller bill.

Kahuku Corn and Prosciutto Foam

Bread with butter and black sea salt

Zuppa di Aragosta- Lobster Bisque with claw meat and brioche

Insalata alla Cesare- Flame-grilled baby Romaine with Prosciutto and Parmigiano Reggiano Crocante

Bagna Cauda

Veggie Crudités

Lightly fried Foie Gras and white truffle parmesan risotto balls- Dime-sized Foie Gras bits in the risotto balls were too tiny to taste!

Sauteed Foie Gras with a wild raspberry red wine reduction- THIS was good. But again, very small portion.

Amaebi and Abalone

Chitarra alla Pescatora- Lobster, Scallops, Shrimp, and Calamari with a garlic tomato sauce over fresh housemade squid ink chitarra.

Tagliolini ai Ricci di Mare- UNI PASTA

Gnocchi Viola con Prosciutto- I thought this was a creative new way to incorporate more flavor into Gnocchi. I loved the subtle yet sweet taste of the Okinawan Sweet Potato. Chewy, perfectly cooked, and perfectly topped with just the right ingredients- walnuts, prosciutto and parmesan shavings.

Arrosto di Agnello- Colorado Lamb

Every time someone ordered this and the cover was lifted, it filled the air with a warm, smoky scent. For a slight second, you might have believed you were in the mountains heating up some marshmallows over a fire.

Muscovy Duck with organic mushrooms and lightly fried leeks with a roasted duckling stock reduction

Braised Short Ribs with Truffle Mashed Potatoes

Panna Cotta

Arancino's deconstructed Signature Tiramisu

Torta al Cioccolato- Dark Chocolate Torte with Kumquat Compote

Coffee to finish

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