Chef Mavro's Blog

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New Kona Kea Shrimp

Fans of our Meli Melo of organic spring vegetables will be happy to hear that it stays on the menu and becomes the Meli Melo of organic Summer vegetables according to Gary’s selection of the best.  Paired with the French chenin blanc Argilex from Vouvray.  Of course this recipe will be gone in fall and we already know it will be missed.   We never keep any recipe more than two seasons. Why? I need to make room for the creative energy of our kitchen team.  If we would have even more variety of fresh local ingredients I would be able to change our menu every day.  Our kitchen doesn’t stand on recipes but on cooking techniques and talents.  I am very fortunate to work with some of the best cooks in the country.

Talking about creativity here are our new dishes:

photos: Justin Morizono

Fresh Kona Kea shrimp, dusted with Garam Masala, Hearts of Palm Remoulade, Chervil and Espelette: where France meets Hawaii.  This is a total explosion of flavors made to be together.  I insist on fresh because this is the only fresh sea water shrimp you can find in the Honolulu market.  Most of the time shrimp are frozen even if you buy them direct from the boat. They are frozen on the boat as soon they are out of the water (or not and then they’re mushy – ugh).

To make sure you fully enjoy the freshness of this product we poach it very lightly in vegetable broth and flavor with garam masala. Every body in Hawaii would tell you “the best part of the shrimp is the head.”  We didn’t discard the heads they are fried separately and served with the dish (Japanese style).  Also on the plate; hearts of palm chervil remoulade with espelette accents (Basque country chili).

Our pairing committee picked up a Hungarian wine the citrusy, peachy flowery Tokaji Muscat Lunel from Grof Degenfeld.

New lamb dish

Lamb might be our favorite meat to cook with.  First our Colorado lamb is for sure one of the best in the world.  Second, since Provence is a lamb country we know so many combinations of ingredients than we are able to provide you the best new lamb ever every time.  Like love, always better than yesterday but not as good than tomorrow.

This one is a killer! We use always the loin, by far my favorite cut.  The loin is roasted in low heat and served with a “pissaladiére.”  What the hell is a pissaladiére? If you insist I am going to tell you.  This is a specialty from Nice (Côte d’ Azur), a tart of caramelized fennel and onion, house-made lamb bacon, finished with anchovy and garlic chips. The lamb jus is perfumed with black olive powder and essence of parsley.

All the Mediterranean flavors on your plate at once and the wine is from Napa Valley?  Yes! The “not-too-big-not-oakey-not-big-tannins” cabernet sauvignon from Chateau Montelena.  When I first came to the States in 1985 I attended a wine tasting with Jordan and Chateau Montelena.  I am not kidding but at this time fresh from France I didn’t know that America was producing wines you can drink.  Wow! I was blown away, in 1985 the fine wine industry was very young in the country and that these two wineries were able to produce wines of this quality was a big surprise.  I told myself, in France we have been making wines since 2,000 years ago!  Welcome to America where nothing is impossible.

(click on older posts to see the last section (dessert) of Chef Mavro’s letter)

Summer dessert showcases lychee and soursop

Pastry Chef Perry Ho’s Summer Treat

Our Pastry Chef Wai Kit “Perry” Ho is from Hong Kong but is not new in Hawaii and very comfortable with local flavors.  His new summer dessert is a perfect illustration.  Big Island Lychee, Soursop Puree, Rice Pudding in Hawaiian Honey Crisp, Pomegranate Tapioca Pearls.  I love the combination of lychee and sousop enhanced with Hawaiian vanilla.  Also his idea of serving a lychee sorbet with pomegranate tapioca pearls is brilliant. The wine a Muscat de Beaume-de-Venise from Provence has natural aromas of honey and caramel which complement beautifully the dish.

In addition to Perry I would like to thank our chef de cuisine Kevin Chong and our sous chef Andrew Le for their outstanding job in the kitchen.  And many thanks to our sommelier Todd Ashline who pre-selects the wines for the pairing committee (please check his wine column in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Wednesday, June 23).

Also explore the complete Summer Menu on the Menu page of this site.

To Feasts & Friends!  See you soon.

George Mavro

I love talking to watercress at Sumida’s

Chef Mavro recommended for Dads in The Weekly Yelp

If Dad is a true foodie, like Olivia D, he’ll appreciate a 6-course meal at Chef Mavro and “the fanatic attention to detail that the Chef has poured into the preparation of all his dishes.” A well-deserved treat for Daddy dearest! (from today’s email from The Weekly Yelp)

Chef Mavro celebrates early Father’s Day dinners (3 courses $69, 4 courses $78, 6 courses $120) on Friday and Saturday (closed Sundays). Honolulu’s place for special occasions.

Chef de Cuisine Kevin Chong encourages Hawaii chefs to travel then come home

excerpts from “The Boys are Back in Town” by Martha Cheng, Honolulu Magazine June 2010
“When we [Chong and a handful of other Hawaii cooks], all left Hawaii we were all saying we don’t want to do this Pacific Rim stuff,” Chong says. “That’s why we went abroad, to learn other things.” In his time away, he worked his way from “the bottom of the bottom”—cooking for the chef’s dog at Le Cirque in New York—to opening a Le Cirque in Mexico at age 26 and supervising a brigade of 60 cooks.
As soon as he got married, he returned to Hawaii, and for the past five years, he’s been Chef Mavro’s chef de cuisine, bringing global flavors to Hawaii Regional Cuisine. These days, he says “some dishes may have Moroccan, some Indian, some maybe Vietnamese, Korean or French.” Is it Pacific Rim? An escabeche of abalone with Manchego cheese croquette, serrano ham and sundried tomato sauce, inspired by time spent in Spain, is not. The betel-nut kurobuta pork loin with green papaya salad and lemongrass pork jus, with its Vietnamese flavorings, is. For Chong, now 33, experience, a Vietnamese sous chef and Chinese pastry chef have tempered his disdain for Asian fusion. “I love Pacific Rim,” he now says. “It’s just how you interpret Pacific Rim.”
Do all paths in Hawaii lead to Asian fusion? Will all chefs succumb to the tyranny of Pacific Rim? Sure, it’s delicious, but isn’t a little variety good? Even Chong concedes that he might wish for a “real Italian trattoria” in Honolulu, perhaps of the sort his best friend Tony Liu, also a local boy, helms in New York, Morandi.
Chong says, “Cooks from Hawaii have a good reputation in New York. We work harder, we’re the first ones in, last ones out … We didn’t travel all that way to fail.”
“As soon as I got married I decided to resign and go back to Hawaii,” Chong says, “because Hawaii is more laid back, people are more laid back. In the restaurant business it’s not as chaotic and competitive as New York and other countries. I thought I would have a heart attack every day working in a big brigade, big kitchen, with 60 cooks. I’ve reached my goals and now it’s time to do what I want.” He finds his position at Mavro ideal: “I really touch the food and cook.”
The current menu at Mavro is mostly free of Asian flavors—instead, offering up Indian vadouvan, Basque espelette and Middle Eastern tahini in dishes that are still grounded in Hawaii via their use of local products.
Chong believes in a bright future for Hawaii chefs and cooks, particularly those who travel, work outside of the Islands, and return. He sees their Pacific Rim-educated palates as one of their greatest assets: “Cooks from Hawaii have the best palates because they know Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines, [which have] a balance of flavors: sweet, salty, sour, umami, bitter … [and] not just a balance in flavors, but in texture and temperature, cold, hot, crispy, soft.” This sort of food culture, coupled with work and travel to master classic techniques and taste new cuisines, gives Hawaii cooks a strong foundation. “They should come back and produce what they learn and mix things up,” Chong says. “When I ask some cooks from Hawaii on the Mainland: You ever plan on coming back to Hawaii’? It’s ‘No, there’s nothing there.’ What do you mean there’s nothing? If you want to do things differently, you do it.”

Kevin Chong succeeded in the trial-by-fire kitchens of New York City, then returned home to become Chef Mavro’s chef de cuisine. Photo: Olivier Koning

Korean actress films “I’m Real” TV show

Top Korean actress Sae Kyung Shin filmed a TV segment at Chef Mavro today with Chef de Cuisine Kevin Chong. It was dual cooking with Chef Chong preparing the Spring Menu Keahole Lobster with Pirie Mango Salad and Ms. Shin preparing Kim Chee Fried Rice. The segment airs in June or July on QTV.

A new Private Event photo gallery page on our website makes it easy to see the many diverse private parties that have arranged for Chef Mavro and his team to cook for their events outside the restaurant.

How many: as few as 2 and as many as 1,000.  Locations vary from private homes and unusual venues on Oahu, Lanai, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai, to the Mainland U.S., and Japan. And on high-end cruise ships, golf courses, historic buildings, and practically anywhere.  Special parties for up to 70 guests can be produced in the restaurant.

Private parties

Wine pairings & photos added to post on 3-course menu ($59)

Chef Mavro Poisson CruWe’re getting lots of calls about our new menu and now we have the wine pairings and two recipe photos. Don’t miss this one.

Back from Bora Bora
includes 3 courses plus pre-appetizer, pre-dessert & house-made sweets

Menu

Cocktail suggestion: Tahitian Vanilla Martini 15.00

three courses $59

POISSON CRU
bigeye ahi, lime juice, tomato, cucumber, carrot, sweet onion, fresh coconut milk
HINANO BEER, TAHITI 7.00

PORC LAQUE A L’ANANAS
pineapple glazed island pork
vanilla umara (sweet potato) purée
fresh coconut spinach
CAMBRIA, 2006 BENCHBREAK PINOT NOIR, SANTA MARIA VALLEY 14.00

POE DE TARO
baked taro pudding with banana ice cream
OLIVARES, 2006 DULCE MONASTRELL, JUMILLA 13.00

Chef Mavro Poe Dessert

New 3-course “Back from Bora Bora” menu with flavors of French Polynesia

Chef Mavro “Back from Bora Bora” with Flavors of French Polynesia
new 3-course menu ($59) starts February 23rd

HONOLULU — The exciting French/Polynesian flavors of Bora Bora inspired Chef Mavro to create a special three-course menu, “Back from Bora Bora,” for only $59. The menu includes an irresistible version of Poisson Cru (surprise pairing with the Tahitian beer Hinano), followed by a main course of Pineapple Glazed Pork with umara puree, and finishes with a flavor-packed dessert of Poe of Taro. Of course the $59 includes all the Chef Mavro extras of pre-appetizer, pre-dessert and hand-crafted candies. This special menu is available by reservation from Tuesday, February 23. Chef Mavro restaurant is open Tuesday-Saturday from 6-9:30 p.m. Call 944-4714 or email chef@chefmavro.com.

Chef Mavro just returned from his first trip ever to French Polynesia that included a short stop in Papeete, Tahiti followed by a stay on the idyllic island of Bora Bora. What caused him to leave his beloved Oahu? An invitation to join the maiden voyage of the very luxurious Seabourn Odyssey on a cruise to Bora Bora and to give a cooking demo and prepare a dinner featuring Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Once there, Mavro had no choice but to soak up the culinary flavors of this idyllic island as return flights to Honolulu are only once a week!

“I told myself if I’m going all the way to French Polynesia I’d better come back with some new flavor ideas! By good luck I stepped off the ship just as a cooking demo of poisson cru and poe dessert was getting underway at the harbor tourism office!” noted Mavro.

Menu
Three courses ($59)

MENU
POISSON CRU
bigeye ahi, lime juice, tomato, cucumber, carrot, sweet onion, fresh coconut milk

PORC LAQUE A L’ANANAS
pineapple glazed Island pork, vanilla sweet pototo (umara) puree, fresh coconut spinach

POE DE TARO
baked taro pudding with banana ice cream

Two Classic French Cuisine Institutions

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/dining/27pari.html?pagewanted=1&th&emc=th Interesting story in the NY Times about La Tour d’Argent & Taillevent Restaurants.   With all the respect I have for this two institutions, perfect classic food execution, perfect service, perfect wine list.  I want the public to know that nobody  else cooks like that in France anymore, nobody serves like that and only some privileged customers drink this kind of wine (at least in a restaurant).   Some associate French cuisine with “too heavy, too expensive too pompous.”  La Tour d’Argent & Taillevent have been for too long synonymous with French cuisine and this is not necessarily a plus.   Also for decades now gourmet restaurants are owned by chefs (the contrary of  La Tour d’Argent & Taillevent).  Keep these two institutions as the “last bastions of Cuisine Temples” and enjoy the creativity and the spontaneity of the French new generation of restaurants.  G. Mavro

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