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Sunday, March 6, 2011

AZURE RESTAURANT - ROYAL HAWAIIAN HOTEL

AZURE RESTAURANT
ROYAL HAWAIIAN HOTEL
HONOLULU, HAWAII 

We were blessed to be treated to a magnificent dinner at Azure at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  The Royal Hawaiian is an oasis in the middle of Waikiki.  It takes you back to the grand days of Waikiki with its architecture and beauty.  I love this hotel and the grounds.  Simply elegant and beautiful.  Azure is located oceanside next to the lively ocean bar.  The space is beautiful, but I cannot figure out who picked out the chairs.  They look like chairs you see at restaurant furniture liquidators.  Kind of cane like from the 70's.  Other than the chairs, the evening was simply fantastic. Great service, good friends and fantastic food.  The menu here features "fresh" seafood from Hawaii.  Wow...what a concept.  You would think there would be more restaurants in Hawaii that do this.  I loved the fact that Azure features locally caught fresh seafood from Hawaiian waters.  While it is not cheap, this is a special event place that not only delivers the view but the service and food as well.  We started the meal with a bottle of Dom Champagne that was already at the table when we arrived.  What a host we had.  The menu is very simple at Azure.  A few starters and sides and then your choice of the fresh fish that is available that day.  The menu includes a long list of local fish.  If the fish is fresh, they mark a box with an X on the menu.  You then choose your preparation and sides.  The fresh fish runs around $38.  Add the sides at around $7 each and your meal will be around $50 easy.  I ordered an Abalone with Pasta dish to share as an appetizer ($18).  The abalone was fresh from Kona but was overcooked and like rubber.  Lost all of its flavor.  The abalone was served with some pasta that totally did not belong with the abalone.  This dish missed the mark on many levels and I would not recommend it.  Our friend ordered a rib eye steak and said it was one of the best ever.  Keli ordered pasta and loved it.  The rest of the table ordered the Azure Tasting Menu ($69 per person / $89 with wine pairing).  The Tasting Menu was delicious.  Every dish and every presentation was great.  The First Course was Azure Sashimi - Hawaiian Yellow Tail Ahi, Japanese Hamachi Avacado and Watermelon Radish Salad with a Ginger Vinaigrette and Papadum Crsip.  Served up with a crios de Susana Balbo Malbec Rose.  WOW....this dish was the bomb.  Totally fresh raw fish that melted like butter in your mouth.  The avacodo was placed in the middle and added flavor and texture.  Probably one of the best appetizers I have ever enjoyed.  This was really fresh fish and you could tell.  Our Second Course was the Ocean Cappucciono - Dungeness Crab and Black Tiger Shrimp Bouillabaisse.  This was like a Thai Soup filled with large chunks of crab and Shrimp.  DELICIOUS.   The Third Course was the Kona Lobster Tail Risotto with Marinated Tomato, Saffron, Waialua Asparagus served with a BEX Riesling.  The Kona Lobster was very fresh and grilled on the outside.  Everyone at the table loved the small lobster tail and said it was the freshest lobster they have ever had in Hawaii.  Go figure, serving fresh lobster from Kona in Hawaii.  Again, how come this is not done everywhere.  Answer; the price is probably a bit high and chefs get lazy and use what the local fish distributor offer.  Azure takes the extra step to visit the fish market every morning and visit local fisherman and farms to procure the freshest ingredients available.  I like this a lot.  Our Fourth Course was a Butter Poached Filet of Beef, Hamakua Mushroom, Taro and Brandy Puree Madeira and Black Truffle Sauce served with a Vita Nova Merlot.  The menu did not mention that a nice Quail Egg would sit atop the small piece of beef.  My friend said it was the best filet of his life.  I loved the dish and especially the yolk of the Quail Egg as it oozed onto the filet.  Again a great dish.  Azure got it all right on this night.  Every dish delivered flavor.  For Dessert we were presented Happy Birthday Bananas Foster.  What a perfect ending to one of the best meals I have enjoyed in Hawaii.  My hat is off to the Chef at Azure for using local fish and produce.  I cannot wait to save enough money to return to this restaurant.

AZURE IN THE ROYAL HAWAIIAN HOTEL IN WAIKIKI
THOSE 1970 CHAIRS TURNED ME OFF
FRESH CATCH MENU IS GREAT
ABALONE WITH PASTA 
FRESH AHI AND HAMACHI WITH AVOCADO - AWESOME!
OCEAN CAPPUCCINO WITH CRAB AND SHRIMP
RIB EYE STEAK
PASTA FOR KIDS
KONA LOBSTER TAIL RISOTTO
BUTTER POACHED FILET OF BEEF
BANANAS FOSTER

1 comment:

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