Chef Mavro's BlogBlogging about food & wine
From now-Sunday, November 17, all guests of Chef Mavro will enjoy “Taste Exotica – Rainforest to Table,” a complimentary flight of Hawaii’s tropical fruits served just prior to the restaurant’s famous desserts.
Pastry Chef Elizabeth Dippong collaborated with Frankie’s Nursery in Waimanalo to select four of Hawaii’s exotic fruits that are by definition “excitingly different!” Then she spun each fruit into a mini-tasting experience that best showcases that fruit. Grown with expertise and love by Frank & Lyn Sekiya and harvested specially for this promotion, featured fruits will include Jackfruit, Mamey Sapote, Meli Kalima Honeycream Pineapple, and Green Peppercorn.
“Part of my mission is get people to try foods (and wines) that are out of the mainstream. Elizabeth and our team are having fun coming up with ways to show Hawaii fruit at their best,” commented Mavro.
Here’s an excerpt from the annual Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Best Restaurants 2013. Chef Mavro restaurant won the 2013 award “Critic’s Choice Fine Dining.”
“Local touches are never far, though they get upscale treatment, such as Indochine-style poached Keahole lobster served over long rice beside Kurobuta pork kau yuk, ladled with tamarind and lemongrass broth. And an “ahi bowl” of spicy big-eye tuna topping steamed basmati rice is accompanied by velvety sea urchin and aleppo pepper aioli dotted with ogo with a side of soy sauce powder adding its umami effect.
Pastry Chef Elizabeth Dippong creates dazzling finale dishes combining savory and sweet.”
In fact, Elizabeth wowed the crowd of 500 this week at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser ‘Ilima Awards party to benefit Diamond Head Theatre with tastings of her new Madre chocolate dessert:
chocolate – black sesame
madre chocolate cremeux, black sesame seed caramelized rice,
orange meringue, hazelnut dragées, butterscotch crisp & sauce
wine pairing: broadbent, 10 year malmsey madeira, portugal
“light & elegant with hints of toffee & mandarin orange, balanced & smooth”
click here for the complete Chef Mavro story:
Join us tonight for an “After Opera” Dinner!
Chef Mavro supports the arts in Hawaii and loved the Friday performance of Puccini’s Turandot. Just click below to get tickets for this afternoon’s 4 p.m. curtain and then reserve your “After Opera” table at Chef Mavro by calling us 944-4714 (or book online). This exhilarating opera will leave you in the mood to enjoy a glass of wine over dinner to chat about the opera’s question, “What would you do for love?”
Information on the opera and tickets: http://www.hawaiiopera.org/shows/turandot/
Shown here, Chef Mavro’s new Watercress, Fiddlehead Fern & Heart of Palm Salad. And the Wagyu Beef, Oxtail Loco Moco, Quail Egg dish.
Mahalo to a guest from Washington D.C. who just posted on Yelp with Five Stars. Mahalo from the Chef Mavro team!
“Spectacular cuisine/service. Eye-watering price makes it a special occasion meal, for sure, but, we’ve never regretted a single cent spent at Mavro. Chef is from Cassis/Marseilles and his southern French roots are evident. One memorable dinner on Mothers Day found us being served Chef’s mother’s own pistou recipe table side with gentle description and memories conveyed. Have breakfast the next day in Kaimuki at Town and you may run into Chef and his wife, there. One of Earth’s great restaurants.”
Today’s Biting Commentary, Honolulu Magazine’s online newsletter covering what’s hot in the local dining scene, featured Chef Mavro’s exciting new Autumn Menu. Pictured in the newsletter is Pastry Chef Elizabeth Dippong’s taste sensation Lilikoi Cremesicle, passion fruit & vanilla “cremesicle,” sauternes gelée, anise coconut froth, macaroon crisp.
Wine pairing: la spinetta, 2012 moscato d’asti “bricco qualia”
Reserve your table now (808) 944-4714
Here’s a link to Chef Mavro’s letter with food photos and details about his new Autumn dishes and wine pairings.
Here’s an excerpt about the new beef dish:
I love Japanese cuisine! For me Japanese cooks are as crazy as we are in France. No short cuts, using the best and freshest ingredients available. In both countries, cooking is more than a job, it’s a religion!
We accompany the wagyu with small oxtail patties topped with a sunny side up quail egg. This is our version of loco moco! Delicious.
We stay in Japan with the sansho jus and accent the wagyu with a few dots of yuzu kosho. Yuzu koshu is by far my favorite Japanese condiment ( a yuzu, green chili & sea salt preserve). The first time I had yuzu kosho I cried! Not because it was too hot but just because it’s not every day that you discover such an intense & beautiful flavor!
Then I asked our sommelier Doug Johnson to try the dish in order to pre-select at least five wines for the wine pairing committee. Doug was close to either quit or commit suicide. I was happy that the wine selection was his problem & not mine.
Doug did it again! Out of 5 wines only one was really working…but what a pairing! The very American red zinfandel, Lytton Springs Estate Zinfandel from Ridge Vineyard. click to read more…
Chef Mavro’s Signature Onaga Baked in a Hawaiian Salt Crust served tableside with a sauce of tomato-ogo-fines herbes. Only tonight and tomorrow.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser featured the another signature, the Original Lilikoi Malasadas, in the TGIF weekend entertainment section by Nina Wu. Also only two more nights.
An interview with Doug Johnson, sommelier and dining room manager at Chef Mavro opens this month’s Hawaii Beverage Guide. “Tapping the Trade” is written by Liane Fu, owner of The Wine Stop (also on South King St. just a few blocks from Chef Mavro restaurant).
Doug has a recommendation based on his two years plus experience at this restaurant popular for romantic occasions as well as business gatherings: “trust in what the restaurant does. Let the restaurant’s experience with product knowledge, the dish and the pairings make it easy for you to have an exceptional food and wine experience.”
Liane quotes his comments about some awesome pairings that stick out for him in this season’s menu:
“Etienne Guigal Crozes-Hermitage with the Lamb Tapenade for the intensity of the wine and the dish. A perfect match.”
“Another of his favorite pairings is the Mushroom-Black Garlic dish with the Jermann Pinot Grigio. The wine and the dish have a mutual nuttinesss. The Pinot Grigio pairs well with mushrooms because it has a nice minerality and nice creaminess.”
“Another excellent pairing is The Dayboat Catch which is currently onaga with the 2012 Bandol Rose. This was an outstanding vintage for this Rose. I love how it pairs with the dish. It has generous fruit yet is still bone dry.”
Be sure to engage Doug in a conversation on your next visit. Questions and comments are always welcome! Food & wine is what it’s all about at this top Honolulu restaurant.
PACIFIC BUSINESS NEWS, September 6, 2013
Four questions for Chef Mavro
Reporter-Pacific Business News
George Mavrothalassitis is chef and proprietor of Chef Mavro, a top-rated fine-dining restaurant in Honolulu. I had the opportunity to talk story with Chef Mavro, as he is most commonly known, in his restaurant with the same name. Here is what we talked about:
What do you enjoy about living in Hawaii?
I’ve been here for 27 years. Do I have to explain? I come from the French Riviera. It’s not bad.
But, what I like about Hawaii — it’s not the scenery or the coconut trees — I think it’s the people. I like that Hawaii is islands, and maybe that comes from my blood. My father was born on a very small island. Maybe it comes from this. Who knows? When Halekulani hired me in ‘88, I remember I came, I flew, and we arrived at the end of the day. It was dark. I went to Halekulani, I had dinner at La Mer and after that, I went to my room. It was, I guess 6 o’clock in the morning, dawn, I opened the window and I saw what I didn’t see when I arrived because it was dark. I saw Waikiki, Diamond Head and it was blue because it was early in the morning. I couldn’t believe — I said, ‘Wow, I’m home.’ I think it was deep.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Not working? What are you talking about? I don’t have a concept of “day off.” To me, day off doesn’t exist. Restaurant is closed on Monday, on Monday you can think “day off” [but] I have so much paperwork.
This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy being off. My restaurant, I don’t have to give notice to take off, so I escape. I escaped a few weeks ago and we went to spend three weeks in Provence, close to my hometown in the south of France. And I love to escape to Kauai, to Big Island. If my schedule is OK, I escape. Even sometimes, I can stay home. I’m lucky to live Makiki with a fantastic view. Being home and looking out my window, I’m already on vacation.
What is your favorite meal to cook at home?
I like fish. I cook a lot of fish. I go to pick up my fish at Tamashiro Market. I like chicken. I like easy cooking. I cook a lot. Usually chefs don’t cook at home. I cook at home. To me, it’s almost like meditation because there’s no pressure. My kitchen, I can cook all day with not one single spot on me, and at home, I make a mess.
What do you enjoy about operating your own Facebook and Twitter accounts?
I have to confess, I enjoy it. I enjoy Twitter and Facebook. I start to communicate with people and it’s quite interesting.
You are not going to see “I went to Magic Island this morning and the weather was beautiful.” I don’t do that. It’s 100 percent business, 100 percent restaurant and 100 percent cooking.
We never advertise. I never spend one dime on advertising — one dime. We opened 15 years ago and we never advertised. In my category, we don’t advertise. If I advertise, people say, “Oh what is going on?” So to me, what I felt a long time ago, 15 years ago, I started a newsletter. It was communication by email, a newsletter about what is going on. Now we have a database of about 9,000 guests.
When I discovered Twitter and Facebook it was to me, to multiply. So I was posting my newsletter, which if you look at my page, you’re going to find. I post my newsletter on my page and on Twitter, also.
It’s great. I have a great return for this, and I enjoy doing it.
At beginning, I thought it was taking too much of my time. I found a way to do a little better and faster and to be more efficient. I have almost 2,000 friends on Facebook and 2,000-something on Twitter that follow me. I think this is good enough.
Stephanie Silverstein covers tourism, retail and money for Pacific Business News.
Chef Mavro restaurant recommended by Modern Luxury Hawaii August 9, 2013
by Kai Andersen and Diane Seo
“Leave it to James Beard Award-winning chef George
Mavrothalassitis to wow with his new summer menu dubbed Return from
Provence. We suggest you splurge with the Grand Degustation, an 11-course sampling that wows with the very first bite. (How could you not
love the abalone, served with a light, airy tarama?) The symphony
continues with Indochine-style poached Keāhole lobster and squab
served in papillote. The final dishes like the goat cheese ice cream
are simply marvelous. With menus like this, it’s no wonder, then, that
Gayot selected the Mō‘ili‘ili eatery as one of the 2013 Top 40
Restaurants in the U.S., the only Hawai‘i establishment on the list.
1969 S. King St., McCully/Mō‘ili‘ili, 944.4714, chefmavro.com“
Be sure to catch Chef Mavro’s appearance at the 3rd Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival event “Taste our Love for the Land, ” a stroll-around feast, September 7th at the Hawaii Convention Center. “I always want to recognize Hawaii’s farmers and fishermen because they are the foundation of my success. I have to know exactly where my ingredients come from and they have to be fresh every morning. Local is best. End of story!” exclaims Chef Mavro.
(text and image courtesy of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival)
“Ingredients are the raw materials of a chef’s art. Without quality materials, a masterpiece is reduced to simply ordinary. Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival’s Taste Our Love for the Land pays tribute to the abundance of these extraordinary materials in the Islands and highlights the intimate connection between the food on your plate and the land on which it’s grown.
This night of unlimited feasting takes place on the charming rooftop garden of the Hawai’i Convention Center. Featuring 18 world-renowned chefs noted for sustainable cooking and 19 master sommeliers, wineries, and mixologists, this event is the festival’s biggest, meaning more food and more wine! Join George “Chef Mavro” Mavrothalassitis, Chris Cosentino, Ed Kenney, Art Smith, Sang Yoon, Sheldon Simeon, and many more on this unforgettable night, Sept. 7.”
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Signature Event “Taste our Love for the Land”
Saturday, September 7
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Rooftop Garden at Hawaiʻi Convention Center
THE WEEKLY EATER
“When some friends wanted to try the menu, I tagged along, intending only to share a few photos on my food blog at takeabite.staradvertiserblogs.com, but I was wowed by the strong flavors and pure bravura on display, so wanted to share the menu with the nongeek set as well.”
August 7, 2013
Mavro’s summer menu delights
with color, flair
Nadine Kam, restaurant critic
Four Stars (highest rating) for Food, Service, Ambience and Value
Summer is the season for travel, but even if you can’t leave home, you can live vicariously through friends who are proficient with a camera and are ready and willing to share photos of what they’ve seen and done on their vacations.
George Mavrothalassitis, aka Chef Mavro, does most sojourners one step better, seizing on the sensory experience of ocean, gardens and terroir of a destination, and bringing to his kitchen memories of those scent and flavor profiles for the rest of us to savor.
The new summer menu at Chef Mavro is a gustatory postcard of his vacation in Provence. In translating his experience to the table, the James Beard Award-winning chef showed why he remains one of the best in the islands, through four- ($85) or six-course ($128) prix fixe dinners, or an 11-course grand degustation ($175 per person for whole table only). Wine pairings are $55, $63 and $98, respectively.
The “Provence Honolulu Express” menu is inspired by finds and techniques gleaned from kitchens of the south of France, with the best of locally sourced ingredients, and it seemed best to try everything. When some friends wanted to try the menu, I tagged along, intending only to share a few photos on my food blog at takeabite.staradvertiserblogs.com, but I was wowed by the strong flavors and pure bravura on display, so wanted to share the menu with the nongeek set as well.
Dinner started with an amuse bouche of creamy chilled kabocha curry soup, with accents of salty bacon in a coconut mousse and the slight bitter crunch of cocoa nibs.
The amuse set the tone for the rest of the meal, full of lively, surprising touches that set off pleasurable flavor explosions on the palate.
A confit of Big Island abalone came next. For this dish the chef went back to his Greek roots. His father’s secret to cooking abalone was to use almonds, which Mavro now uses to finish his own dish. The abalone is cooked at low temperature so it’s tender, drizzled in lime juice with a touch of Hanapepe salt and served atop a tzatziki cucumber-almond milk Greek caviar mousse, and garnished with a cucumber ring full of foamed tarama and a crisp sliver of house pita bread.
Next up was the chef’s upscale version of an ahi bowl, with spicy big-eye ahi topping a bowl of steamed basmati rice. The luxe touch is a velvety sea urchin and aleppo pepper aioli dotted with bits of ogo. Drawn onto the plate is a line of shoyu powder, adding its umami effect when sprinkled onto the dish. I could have stopped eating here and been fully satisfied. My mind was telling me to stop eating the rice, which would fill my stomach quickly, but it was so delicious I polished off the whole thing.
An Indochine-style poached Keahole lobster came next, served over long rice beside Kurobuta pork kau yuk. A pour of tamarind and lemongrass broth with crustacean essence was added. This was heaven.
Compared with what had come before, the seared onaga registered as plain, though the work that went into its sauce was no less intense. The dish had a calming effect before the second main course and finale, as though the chef were orchestrating a performance. The fish is served over bitter burgundy-braised radicchio with raito, or rayte, red wine sauce that the chef discovered in an 1897 cookbook. This “pinot noir essence” is finished with vegetable broth, capers, confit tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil and air, for a bubbly effect. He topped the onaga with its fish skin “chicharron,” which he says is not to be tried at home. My friends wished it could be packaged like pork rinds.
Entree choices for the six-course menu are a meat lover’s Wagyu and braised short rib with chimichurri sauce and parsnip puree (add $28) or squab breast baked in papillote with savoy cabbage and chipolata. With the squab, you get the chef’s personalized service as he arrives at the table to open the paper pouch, plate the bird and gently pour on the jasmine tea-squab jus. A thigh is served on dandelion greens with a tart poha berry salad.
I’m partial to the lamb that comes with the four-course meal. The mushroom-dusted Niman Ranch lamb loin is seared and served with lamb jus, accompanied by eggplant caviar, julienned snow peas and a pair of thin toasts topped with green and black olive tapenade.
Just when we thought we could eat no more, an arugula-goat cheese salad arrived like dessert, with the greens surrounding a refreshing helping of Hawaii Island goat cheese ice cream, one of many wonders served up by Mavro’s new pastry chef, Elizabeth Dippong. All were sweetened with Mavro’s strawberry-rhubarb minute jam and finished with the honeycomb crunch of Elizabeth’s Volcano Island Honey CandyPre-dessert was a block of translucent champagne gelee set to show its contents of red watermelon forming a floral pattern.
At this point we were moaning and groaning about not being able to eat another bite. But small nibbles of lychee with Valrhona white chocolate, yuzu cream, pistachio semifreddo and candied basil led us to finish this dessert as well, except for the bitter Campari gel.
We also finished the savory guava-olive oil sorbet that came with the next dessert, but ended up taking home the rest of it, as small as it was. The Madre Hamakua chocolate and cocoa nib dacquoise was too good to allow to go to waste. It’s served with a confit of mango with the gentle heat of the Turkish pepper urfa biber, and the crunch of chocolate feuilletine.
It was, from beginning to end, a meal worth remembering.
——— Nadine Kam‘s restaurant reviews are conducted anonymously and paid for by the Star-Advertiser. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.