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Saturday, January 30, 2016

15 CRAIGSIDE GOES TO LE BISTRO

Let me quote Zagat:

Leave the strip mall behind as you enter this "true hidden gem" owned by "talented" Japanese chef Alan Takasaki and his wife, Debbie, serving "fantastic French" fare in an "unlikely" Niu Valley venue; the "service-oriented staff" is "committed" to delivering "beautifully prepared dishes" made with "lots of local ingredients" and an "outstanding" wine list while the "elegant" room retains a "cozy feel", making for a "magnifique" and "memorable" experience that's "well worth the price.


That pretty much summarizes the experience we had at Le Bistro. Chef Takasaki has been operating the restaurant for nearly 15 years, previously known as Swiss Inn, then Swiss Haus. A graduate of Kaiser High School, he went on to serve time at a range of our best restaurants in the USA, including Le Bernadin in New York City.  Le Bistro earned a Bronze as #3 to Alan Wong's Gold in the latest Honolulu Magazine's Haile 'Aina Awards of Best Restaurants in Hawaii.  Chef Takasaki came by to chat with our table a couple of times.  Here he is with me and my glass of Kir Royale, with below, a poor photo of our group.


In my discussion with Chef Alan he indicated that he had the remains of some truffles, but they were at the end of their life in his kitchen.  He did, though, mention that s couple of 50-gram bottles of caviar were available, as shown to the left, and that he would let me have one at only $1.50 over his cost, which normally would range from $80 to $125, depending on the quality.  As I already had foie gras, marrow and escargot in mind, I'll someday need to return for the caviar.

Martha, our guardian from 15 C and her lamb:


And no, she is not drinking two glasses of wine.  Here is that rack of lamb, I think from Colorado:


My first course combined bone marrow and foie gras:


The foie gras was excellent, but the bone marrow, although wonderful in taste and accompaniments, was just about all oil.  I did mention to Chef Alan that his technique of cutting the bone down the middle, the marrow unprotected through the cooking process, meant that no marrow would be left, while if the bone is cut like in shank form (as to the left), the marrow can better remain intact.  Can you believe I had the nerve to mention this to a top chef?  Anyway, he actually accepted my comment as something to consider and was good-natured about it.

Then, for my second course I had escargot with a salad, here with Charlotte and Alfred in the background:


I'm now into a Hess Chardonnay, which I did not particularly like.  The escargot dish was fabulous, but the salad was way over dressed, for me.  Yasuko sat to my left and started with escargots, but went on to a quartet of beef:


I shared Charlotte/Al's warm chocolate cake (which was fantastic) and ice cream, and ended with a cappuccino:


Everyone thought the dinner, setting and service were outstanding.  

Yesterday for lunch I again bought a huli huli chicken bento from Hawaii's Favorite Kitchen and enjoyed the gorgeous Diamond Head view:


Our Craigside Monday Night Table has recently featured Tequila Sunrise with Li Hing Mui, Gin Gizz and Sake Night:


Sake night at the bottom featured seven bottles for seven people, and one individual does not drink alcohol.

15 Craigside next will go to Forty Carrots of the brand new Bloomingdale's at the Ala Moana Shopping Center, then to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and the original Side Street Inn.

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Tropical Cyclone Stan is just about to crash into a largely unpopulated section of northwest Australia:


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