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Chef Mavro cooks his greatest hits from Tuesday, September 7 for a limited time

Chef Mavro preparing Onaga Baked in a Hawaiian Salt Crust - hint: you don't eat the crust; it's there to protect the fish from overbaking in the oven.

Chef Mavro Cooks Greatest Hits for Limited Time from September 7, 2010

HONOLULU — Guests keep calling “Hana Hou!” (do it again!) for Chef Mavro to bring back their favorite recipes from the restaurant’s 12-year history.  Starting Tuesday, September 7, 2010, for a limited time, Chef Mavro will prepare some of his most-requested creations.  The special 6-course menu ($120) will be in the spotlight although the restaurant’s 3-course ($69), 4-course ($78), and Grand Tasting menus will also be available. Guests are welcome to move recipes from one menu to another including the Hana Hou selections. This makes it easy to enjoy just one or two of the greatest hit recipes as part of a 3- course or 4-course menu.

“In my kitchen we’re always working on new recipes and setting new trends but now we’re going to pause for a few weeks and cook the guest favorites of the past,” explained Mavro.

Many will make a special trip in the next few weeks to remember or discover why one particular recipe caught the attention of foodies everywhere. Chef Mavro’s most famous creation “Onaga baked in a Hawaiian Salt Crust, fines herb-ogo sauce” won GQ magazine’s top 10 recipes, earned a cover spot in The New York Times’ food section, regaled guests at a James Beard awards gala, and was celebrated around the world for decades.

About 5 years ago when Chef Mavro calculated that he had made it over 80,000 times, he exclaimed “No more!”   Until now when the aromas of tarragon and Provencal herbs will again fill the dining room as the Onaga in a Hawaiian Salt Crust is served tableside, turning heads and inspiring guests to say simply “I’ll have whatever they’re having!”

Also guests can again savor the award-winning flavors of “Ahi Tartare & Caviar, Keahole Lobster with a chorizo puff, Wagyu Beef with chimichurri sauce, and Li Hing Mui goat cheese tatin.  Then there are the famous Lilikoi Malasadas, chosen as one of America’s Best Doughnuts and the only recipe that has remained on the otherwise seasonally changing menus since the opening.  A Chef Mavro greatest hits menu would be ridiculous without this celebration of tropical flavors that remains his most popular dessert.

George Mavrothalassitis, a founding member of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, won the James Beard Award, a lifetime achievement award and the top U.S. culinary honor. Chef de cuisine Kevin Chong and Sommelier/Manager Todd Ashline are integral parts of everything the restaurant achieves. Reservations confirmed here 24/7 .

Hana Hou!
(an encore performance of Chef Mavro’s greatest hits)

ahi tartare & caviar

bigeye ahi, seasoned with hanapepe salt

topped with california estate malossol caviar, taro chip, ponzu glaze

keahole lobster a la coque

cream of kahuku corn, chorizo puff, crustacean essence

onaga baked in hawaiian salt crust

GQ Magazine “1993 Golden Dish Award” by Alan Richman
longtail snapper, fines herb-ogo sauce

100% wagyu beef

sautéed strip loin medallions, braised short rib chimichurri

pancetta brussels sprout, celery root puree, pinot noir sauce

big island goat cheese tatin

li hing mui caramelized granny smith apple, hirabara baby greens

lilikoi malasadas

guava coulis, pineapple-coconut ice cream

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A greatest hit - Keahole Lobster Chorizo Puff

Today’s Midweek profiles Sous Chef Andy Le

Restaurant critic Jo McGarry came by the Chef Mavro kitchen and tasted a big hit from the Summer Menu heavily influenced by Sous Chef Andy Le.  Their meeting inspired Jo to profile Andy in today’s Midweek.  She loved the Kurobuta Pork a la Saigon –  Kurobuta pork loin wrapped in betel nut leaves, green papaya-cucumber-tomato on a crispy shank, woodear mushrooms, lemongrass pork jus. The perfect wine pairing offered with this dish is the centuries-old winery Movia, their 2004 Pinot Nero from Slovenia.  This food & wine combination is one of the most popular choices on the current menu available now through mid-September.

…from 3 courses at $69 to the Grand Tasting at $165 – all occasions satisfied here

Kurobuta Pork

A choice of menus for your different occasions and moods.  Of course the $69 three-course menu with full-size portions is pleasing to many but more and more guests are choosing the Grand Tasting Menu at $165, an ultimate experience menu showcasing everything on the menu in quarter portions!  Think of it as a Chef Mavro kaiseki, tapas festival or as so many guests comment –  a peak moment in their culinary travels!  Whichever menu you choose (3, 4, 6 course or the Grand Tasting), all guests enjoy three complimentary courses: amuse bouche, pre-dessert, and the famous after-dinner mignardises of Pastry Chef Perry Ho which currently include Parisian macarons and caramels with Hawaiian salt.

“I say yes all the time!” Chef Mavro, Pacific Business News

July 22, 2010 – Today’s Pacific Business News story by Linda Chiem “really got it right about my business,” comments Chef Mavro.  My team’s dedication to giving each guest an “experience,” being consistent, buying the best quality from local sources no matter the price, and starting fresh each day.
The story notes: “Mavrothalassitis buys his meat, fish, produce and vegetables fresh daily from Hawaii vendors. His only freezer is a small one for ice cream. He goes to great lengths to give guests an experience, such as in the case of the macarons, “freebies” that come with each meal along with an amuse bouche and a pre-dessert.”

Chef Mavro live OC16 tomorrow Monday, July 12 7 a.m.

France is the pre-Bastille Day topic tomorrow at 7 a.m. (yes a.m.) on the Hawaii channel OC16. Chef Mavro will be talking on these questions and telling stories of course! French Consul Paticia Lee and others will also be flying the bleu, blanc, rouge.

What is the National Dish of France or is there one? If not, why?

What makes French cooking, French?

If there were one thing France has given to the world of culinary arts,
what would that contribution be?

What are some of the French elements in your Summer Menu?

A chat with Chef Mavro on EatizenJane blog

Acclaimed food writer Lesa Griffith posted bonus material on her blog from a conversation with Chef Mavro in his home kitchen as he prepared one of his favorite fish dishes.  The original story appears in the current print issue of Modern Luxury Hawaii with a intriguing portrait of the Chef by Linny Morris shot at the Sumida watercress farm.

But here’s that extra stuff that didn’t fit!

Chef Mavro the restaurant we love on Oahu: Conde Nast Traveler July 2010

Check page 64 of the July 2010 edition of Conde Nast Traveler for CNT’s Why we love Islanders. Chef Mavro is their pick on Oahu and one of only 10 in the world.

“Whether they wear it, serve it, or invite us to join in, islanders deliver a welcome that sea and land alone connot. And let’s not forget chefs. If islands seduce travclers, islands with great food turn us religious.”

Ten destinations/one restaurant in each:  Oahu  Chef Mavro restaurant (and on Maui Main Street Bistro in Wailuku. in Bali Dava at Ayana, Jimbaran, in Capri Da Tonino, in Vancouver Deep Cove Chalet, Sidney, in the Cyclades Katinas, Santorini, in Nantucket Topper’s etc.). We love the local and  international company.

Chef Mavro letter – new Summer Menu offers farm-to-table freshness

Aloha from all of us and here’s to the bounty of Summer!

More than ever our new Summer Menu is all about our local farmers, growers and fishermen.  Our restaurant is not only about us but involves what I like to call our ‘ohana, family, which includes mostly the same people since 22 years ago when I first landed in Hawaii.

Today I would like to celebrate this ‘ohana and tell them how much their hard work and dedication is appreciated.  Thanks David Sumida for delivering himself his watercress to our door. Kurt and Pam Hirabara in Kamuela for growing in such a consistent way a bounty of baby greens and herbs (when Kurt started farming on the Big Island 22 years ago, I was one of his first customers). Brooks Takenaka general manager of the fish auction for bringing from the close waters the most amazing quality of fresh fish. The Threlfalls who raise goats in Ahualoa for producing one of the best fresh goat cheeses I know. Jeanne Vanna our tomato queen.  Hubyba for your variety of fine herbs and spices. The Stangas for providing Hamakua mushrooms to our seasonal menus. Jim and Tracy Reddekopp Hawaiian Vanilla – I bought the first Vanilla bean that they produced in 1998 and have enjoyed their production ever since.  Joe Wilson for nursing the liveliest lobster in the world at Kona Cold.  Karen Fukunaga for selecting for us the best and the most consistent local ingredients.

Also our more recent discoveries Frankie’s Nursery, Grant our fisherman from Molokai, Gary Forth-Maunakea and his amazing team at Ma’o Organic Farms, Jim from Kona Kea Shrimp, Wenhao for his sea asparagus, and all our friends who brought from their back yard to our door, lychee, mango, hearts of palm, avocado, soursop, betel leaves, pomelos, mountain apples, rambutan, mangosteen, calamansi, guava, green papaya

And this is what our restaurant and our new Summer Menu is all about.

Sous Chef Andrew Le harvesting peppercorns at Frankie’s Nursery in Waimanalo

Molokai fisherman delivers to our door

Day Boat Catch – Bourride Moderne (white bouillabaisse)

Our day-boat catch comes every morning either from the fish auction or from our  Molokai fisherman; whichever has the most beautiful fish. In summer we get Uku (gray snapper) most of the time.  It is the freshest, direct from the boat and I like it’s elegant texture.

Day-Boat Catch Bourride “Moderne”

This white fish is perfect for Bourride, a Provencal name for white bouillabaisse.  I love this recipe from my home town Marseilles where we mix an equal quantity of fish broth and aïoli, add 1 egg yolk per person and cook the mixture like a sabayon. Then we cover the fish and garnish with it.  Well this is delicious but too rich for my taste. So we found a modern way to do it.

Place 2 parts of hot broth, 1 part aïoli, and no additional egg yolk in a siphon canister; two cartridges of compressed air and we foam the Bourride “Moderne” on the top of the fish.  Now it is very, very light and very, very tasty.

Out of the 5 wines we blind tasted with the Bourride “Moderne,” the Chablis from Domaine des Malandes was the best. It is sharp, lemony but still mineral with beeswax after taste that blends perfectly with our garlicky emulsion.

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)

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