Mahalo for another good year
AAA Five Diamonds again for 2010
18/20 Gayot’s top rating in Hawaii again for 2010

One more Christmas in my new home town.

I was born in Marseille, capital of Provence.  Marseille is a big city (on the French scale) more than 1 million inhabitants.  Growing up in Marseille is like growing up in a small village, everybody knows you and you know everybody.  If you haven’t seen a friend for a while you think “maybe is dead!”  Nobody (except me) leaves Marseille, born, grow, work and die some time in the same house.

People from Marseille are very welcoming, always smiling and joking. Nobody (except in the restaurant business) works very hard. When it takes one year in Paris to create a new road; it takes 10 years in Marseille to do the same road. But nobody really cares or complains.

In Marseille business is tough we always say “this is the price of the sun.”  We are not rich but happy. On bad times we think about the “pôvre” (miserable in Marseille dialect) inhabitants of Paris and Lyon and we feel better.

Now, replace the word Marseille by Honolulu…Is that not amazing?  I am home guys.

23 years in Hawaii and I don’t take anything for granted. I am, like the first day, still enjoying the morning run around the Punchbowl as well as the Monday swim at Kaimana Beach followed by a lunch at Ono Hawaiian Foods. Every time I eat ogo I celebrate like this is the best thing I have tasted in my whole life.  Same for local mango, watercress, lilikoi, guava, papaya, ahi, ginger etc.

Day-Boat Catch
Provence herbs, black olive, confit lemon & capers, caramelized fennel
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Holidays are here and we are ready.  The Holiday menu is offered through January 2nd (7 days a week).  We will feature a special dessert to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Our Day-Boat catch is the celebration of Provence.  Crusted with Provence herbs cured black olive, confit lemon and capers, it’s served with a caramelized  fennel bulb and a bubbling lemon thyme emulsion.  This recipe is a very good bargain.  It is going to make you fly to Marseille without leaving your seat.  The wine, very crispy, citrusy, peachy, apricoty with long acidity (all the words in “y” even the one doesn’t exist).  I am talking about the Domaine de Chatenoy, Menetou-Salon from the Loire Valley, selected by our wine pairing committee.

What is espelette and how good is the Tamarind Roasted Sablefish?
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Back to Hawaii with the Tamarind Roasted Sablefish.  It perhaps looks like a misoyaki butterfish but it is not.  Tamarind glazed, the fish is garnished with salad of cucumber, red radish and celery, tossed with a yogurt-cilantro extra virgin olive oil dressing.  The sauce: a puree of garlic flavored with espelette.  What is “espelette?”

Thank you for asking.  Before this menu I was myself not sure exactly what it was.  Kevin Chong discovered the espelette while visiting years ago the Basque Country between France and Spain.

Basques are wonderful people, they don’t want to be French and they don’t want to be Spanish either.  They are Basques…The cuisine is wonderful, Chicken Basquaise, Piperade etc. What happens in Basque country stays in Basque country. Next door in Provence we don’t hear about it.

Sorry I forgot; you ask what espelette is?

Espelette is a dried basque chile, not too hot with very specific flavors something like maybe cayenne and paprika.

Challenge for the wine? Not really; we all picked up a Pouilly-Fuisse from Chateau Pouilly which was created for this recipe with dried-fruit flavors that work very well with the espelette.

Fois Gras “au torchon,” marcona almonds, fig balsamic, Portuguese sweetbread
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I talk too much and I have almost no more room but I want to tell you about the new Foie Gras.

The foie gras is poached “au torchon” (inside a towel in order to squeeze the foie after cooking to remove the excess of fat).  The foie is topped with spiced marcona almonds (from Spain).  The dish is garnished with a marmalade of granny smith tomatoes (not apples), accented with baby mustard cabbage leaves.  Then served with a fig balsamic vinegar, toasted house Portuguese sweetbread on the side.

The wine is not a Sauternes which makes me happy because I think that as fantastic as this wine is, it is too sweet for Foie Gras terrine. The wine is a German Gewürztraminer Spätlese from Fitz-Ritter. This is a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity that doesn’t overshadow the foie gras.

Our Winter Menu will start January 5th featuring new dishes such as Lamb, Date Tarte, Big Island fresh Goat Cheese…But this is for my next letter.

Please check our complete holiday menus and our New Year’s Eve gala dinner.

Aloha,

George Mavrothalassitis/Chef Mavro
Chef Mavro Restaurant
1969 S. King Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
(808) 944-4714

Big Island Goat Cheese

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Our sommelier and restaurant manager Todd Ashline is also a featured columnist for The Honolulu Advertiser. Read his Raise a Glass feature story on gift suggestions for wine and food lovers (scroll down to previous blog post).
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Truffles, Lobster, Wagyu Beef on New Year’s Eve Menu ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Of course the highlight of the Holiday is our New Year’s Eve gala dinner with gold & black decor and favors.  This menu spotlights the ingredients that you dream about for this occasion:
fresh truffles, caviar, foie gras, lobster, wagyu beef and the grand dessert of 2010!
We create a festive oasis and a civilized way to dine for New Year’s Eve, yet close to Waikiki if you plan to finish the night with fireworks and dancing.