Every once in a while we all deserve to step back, reflect on things, and take a break to recharge ourselves from the hard work that we have been putting ourselves through. It’s also important to think about old goals, evaluate them, and decide what kind of direction you want to take for the future – which is kind of what I’ve been doing since I went to Hawaii about two weeks and a half weeks ago. During that time, I had one of the best dinning experiences I’ve ever had – at the Vintage Cave.
The Vintage Cave Experience
In addition to self reflection and self direction, it’s also nice to splurge and do something you normally wouldn’t do – which is exactly what I decided to do while I was on Oahu – I had one of the best meals of my entire life. In fact, it was so good that I thought I needed to share it with you – and one of the best parts – it had nothing to do with Paleo in no respects – but it was one of the best restaurants I have ever been to in my entire life.
It’s called Vintage Cave, and it’s right in the heart of Ala Moana on the island of Oahu in Hawaii – and I’m not sure if there are any other food aficionados that read my blog, but the current chef of Vintage Cave is headed by, Jonathan Mizukami – a former sous chef who worked under Thomas Kellar at the amazing French Laundry up in Napa Valley, California (also another restaurant I’d like to try).
Here is a copy of the menu from the evening:
And now for the rest of the items:
An interesting first three items – all of which were not featured on the menu. First up; dried seawead with rock salt – an interesting yet tasty bite. Followed by that was a shooter of a chef’s take on carrott soup with some type of foam. I’m still not sure on what exactly the foam was but it was featured on several different menu items. Last up – and one of my favorite bites was a deviled qual egg and Australian truffle. All of these items were presented in a way that reminds me of the television show, The Taste.
There were quite a few firsts for me at Vintage Cave. You can see the caviar in the first picture on the left. It was actually the first time I’ve tried caviar. On the bottom right was a healthy portion of foie gras – first time for that as well. Both are kind of an acquired taste but a somewhat salty experience. If you’ve never had foie gras before, I suggest you try it (if you fall in line with it ethically), it’s very rich and buttery. Last but not least is a fancy version of a garden salad complete with an avocado foam. P.S. avocado foam is amazing by the way. The top right was the Matsutake Royale with the pine nut mouse – something I need to learn to replicate.
The chef’s take on main dishes which featured another first of mine with the bacon wrapped rabbit (bottom right). It wasn’t the first time I had eaten rabbit, but if you notice the garnish on top of the rabbit, it’s actually rabbit kidney. It wasn’t half bad. Also my favorite was the Kampachi (top right) – a buttery, moist white fish that makes its home in the Hawaiian waters. Also delicious was the lamb (bottom left). My least favorite of the dishes was the chef’s spin on mac ‘n cheese. Although the pasta was hand cut, I’ve had better versions locally in San Diego. A little more cheesy flavor could have been used.
Last but not least – the desserts. First up and one of my least favorite dishes was the corn sorbet (pictured on right). You take a bite and a cold sensation hits your mouth followed two seconds later by an explosion of popcorn tasting sorbet. It was just too much. The Gateau Marjolaine (top left) was much friendlier to the palate – chocolate mouse, caramelized hazelnuts, and salted caramel ice cream. The only dessert I wasn’t able to capture was apple tarte tatin which featured candied pecans, vanilla sable, and apple cider sorbet. Yum.
If you’re ever in the Honolulu area and you’re up for an incredible dinning experience (and feel like losing some of your retirement money in the process), I highly suggest Vintage Cave. It’s incredible – the service is on point and the chef is world class. Bon appetit.