My lunches in Hawaii are simple and feature Zippy's, Rainbow Drive Inn and similar outlets. There are exorbitant options, such as Orchids at the Halekulani and 53 By the Sea, (the view, right), they both are outstanding, and now and then I do splurge of them. I just might have, though, found another high end restaurant and perhaps had my best lunch in Hawaii at Vintage Cafe, located at the Ewa-Makai (east-sea) side of the Ala Moana Shopping Center. If you want to binge on a special lunch, this is worthy of your consideration.
He also was involved in the billion dollar grandiose plans of Jeff Stone regarding Ko Olina a dozen years ago. Linda Lingle was then Governor. Stone apparently is back with a hand in a Chinese development of an Atlantis Resort. If you missed it, there is now also a Four Seasons at Ko Olina, with a mountain view starting at $600/night, except that Kamaaina (local resident) rates are $325/night with free breakfast and cheap parking.
series of 18 Picassos. The brick walls were specially made in Yugoslavia and laid by 10 bricklayers from that country. The wines are extraordinary, including a 2009 Grand Cru Moaopole at $16,000. One shot of 50-year-old Macallan single malt costs $6000.
Senia in downtown Honolulu. The current chef is Jonathan Mizukami, (above), who came over from The French Laundry.
- This Italian-themed restaurant became open for business in November, and has not yet had a grand opening.
- There is no connection to the crowds at Shirokiya Japanese Village Walk (right). Facing the outside of this food court, you need to make a right turn before entering, walk around the corner, and come upon a classy entrance:
- About the Shirokiya walk, the whole wagyu avenue is now closed, and, probably will never open again because the cost of Japanese wagyu beef is beyond the range of most. Tourists don't splurge in a food court. All those wagyu serving counters belong to Sekiguchi. I can't imagine he is pleased with this disaster.
- Vintage Cafe could well face this same problem. It is too nice, too large and too expensive...for strolling tourists. There are more than 50 tables with a number of side areas for private diners. My fear is that the management will be forced to cut back quality and service to draw more people. During my entire stay there were only two other tables with customers.
- I understand that the roll-out has been gradual on purpose, and they are experimenting with the cuisine. But more than three months into operation no one knows about this place. Their marketing plan has royally screwed up.
- True that the very best restaurants around the world (Japan, Europe, anywhere) play background sounds of the Big Band Era, American light jazz and Frank Sinatra. Why, is a mystery to me. But Vintage Cafe should absolutely not follow that format. Some high class Italian music would be best. For example, here are a few popular songs to be considered:
- Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman - Canto Della Terra
- Umberto Tozzi - Ti Amo
- Claudio Villa - O Sole Mio
- Domenico Modugno - Nel Blue Dipinto Di Blu
- Anything from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
- Selected tunes from Italian operas, Mina, and so on.
- Even these songs (Italian in origin only).
- I noticed there are only a very few Italian female singing stars known worldwide and classical composers, so find the best.
- And nothing wrong with Finiculi Finicula.
- Their Cafe is also called a bistro, which has Russian origins and connotes a smallish place to eat and drink. Maybe trattoria would make more sense.
- Sekiguchi has visions of expanding the Vintage Cave/Cafe concept to Beverly Hills, New York, Frankfurt and Dubai, but first needs to make both French and Italian enterprises attain some success in Honolulu. I look forward to dining at Vintage when Dubai hosts the World Expo in 2020, but I wonder what that will cost and if I will even be able to enter.
With tax and tip the total bill was $80, but I keep telling people that the cheapest acceptable cost of a hotel room in any major capital of the world is at least $250. This one meal is worth much more than a night in any hotel at three times the rate.