Ah February! The month for lovers and Valentines. Where red hearts abound as well as glassy-
eyed romantic hopefuls. Hmmm… A dozen long stemmed roses - $100 on debit Mastercard, a
romantic dinner for two - $150 on debit Mastercard, the Stylistics greatest hits on CD - $15 on
debit Mastercard. An unforgettable Valentine’s evening… priceless! Excuuuuse me! Unless your
accountant is from WorldCom, that’s $265 dinero!
Since we’re on the subject of red, hearts and mucho dinero, how about a meal featuring 0-toro
sashimi – it’s red, good for the heart and if air flown from Japan or the East Coast, also will set
you back a fair share of greenbacks.
The Way to a Man’s Heart…
As the saying goes, it’s not through Route 66 but through his stomach. So instead of spending a
lot for “fu-fu”, Hallmark enriching accoutrements, just go straight to the stomach with food
that may benefit his heart – fish!
So Many Fish(es), So Little Time
All fish, as a rule of thumb are healthier animal protein alternatives than their terrestrial
counterparts since most sea life is low in saturated fat. However, to derive the ultimate cardiac
benefit from the sea, your choice of fish needs to come from icy cold waters where sea life make
significant quantities of omega-3 fatty acids. Namely, these are salmon, herring, tuna, mackerel
and other fish from the icy Atlantic and Pacific waters that allow accumulation of these heart
healthy fatty acids.
How to Prepare
Instead of the usual pan sauté, poached or baked fish, how about a jazzy twist to sashimi?
Decoratively arrange slices of sashimi grade salmon, tuna or snapper on a long serving platter
(perhaps one row of orange salmon, one row of white snapper and one row of red tuna) and
garnish each with a different “tapenade”. Raw salmon pairs nicely with a “salsa” of avocado,
minced chives, lemon zest and lemon infused olive oil. Or perhaps a little minced Kalamata
olive, fennel and caper tapenade with fresh tuna sashimi. The piquant snapper pairs with almost
any flavor ranging from citrus based dressings to earthy, mushroom based duxelle-type toppings
with herb flavored olive oils.
NANI? You don’t eat raw seafood!? How about a broiled salmon filet served with a “sauce” of
sautéed minced, smoked country bacon, fresh shiitake, shallots and garlic with a touch of oyster
sauce or a simple tuna steak rolled in furikake then pan sautéed in garlic infused olive oil.
Finally, try your own Eurasian version of the classic French Bouillabaisse. Instead of the tomato
and saffron based broth, how about a classic Japanese konbu and katsuo based broth with hints
of ginger, garlic and five spice with the same assorted “fruit de mer” that the French serve but
instead of the toast point with aioli, how about a charred rice cake with shoga mayonnaise? Still
heart healthy, still classic (almost) but with an Asian twist that you won’t have to rename
Freedombaisse for your narrow minded dining companions.
Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas
Lastly, if you’re not kitchen-inclined or simply like to dine out, my suggestion (in Hawaii at
least) is Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas. It’s not a typo, it is Eurasion as in fusion cooking. Chef Hiroshi
Fukui, formerly of the L’Uraku Restaurant who recently joined the D.K. Kodama team (of Sansei
Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar fame) features fusion Asian/European “tapas” in his namesake
restaurant. Each dish – including entrees – is based on the Spanish tapa idea, smaller plates to
complement whatever wine you’re enjoying. It actually is derived from “top” or the small plate
itself that was used as a cover to prevent flying gnats from falling into your sherry (talk about a
painless, noble death). The courses were meant to be small so as not to spoil dinner which the
Spanish have at 10:00 or 11:00 pm.
Hiroshi’s Eurasion take is to fuse Asian and Western small dishes that you can enjoy as a whole
meal – it’s suggested that diners order about three different dishes per person to make a total
meal. And the wine pairings! Decided by none other than Chuck Furuya, one of only 58 Master
Sommeliers nationwide. Chuck pairs Chef Hiroshi’s food with dry Rieslings all the way up to
Pinot Noir flights. Several flights are offered by the half-glass to maximize your wine pairing
For starters we tried the Sashimi of Kanpachi served with a Kalamata olive, wasabi and Parmesan
cheese “tapenade” with a chili vinaigrette. If you’re not familiar with Kanpachi, in Hawaii it also
goes by the name Kahala. Unlike the Kahala residential area, Kahala - the fish - is often
discarded for fear of ciguatera poisoning. However, in this case the fish are farm raised and carry
no risk of ciguatera poisoning since ciguatoxin is accumulated through the food chain and
farmed raised fish dine on controlled faire versus their wild brethren. Kanpachi is like sea bream
or tai without the crunchy texture of tai. We also had the Shrimp Chawanmushi “Soup”. Plump
Bay shrimp are encased in a custard-like mixture resembling and tasting like tofu surrounded by
a piquant broth. This was drizzled with white truffle oil that paired nicely with an earthy Pinot
Gris. The Seared Sea Scallops with bacon ragout, tobiko and kabayaki butter sauce is one of Chef
Hiroshi’s classics from his days at L’Uraku and the Sizzlin’ Moi Carpaccio is another Hiroshi
classic that is served with Big Island ginger, Hauula tomato, tofu and a ponzu vinaigrette. We
also indulged in a couple of “entrée” items like the Crab Stuffed Kona Cold Lobster Tail and the
Red Wine “Braised” Veal Cheek in a cilantro pesto crust. Our server included a dessert at no
charge since it took a while for the entrees to arrive tableside. We stuck to this single dessert
since we wanted to “save” ourselves for a trip next door to Vino Wine Bar – also part of the
expanding D.K. Kodama restaurant venture.
D.K. Kodama’s expanding restaurant empire – while not at the same levels as Roy’s Restaurants –
now include seven separate entities. They include three Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bars;
in the Kapalua Shops and Kihei Town Center on the island of Maui and at the Marriott Waikiki
Beach in Waikiki, a d.k. Steak House in the Marriott Waikiki Beach in Waikiki, two Vino Wine
Bars in the Kapalua Resort on Maui and at Restaurant Row in Honolulu and now, Hiroshi
Eurasion Tapas. This restaurant group has also been partnering with several “name” chefs in
Honolulu, Hiroshi Fukui formerly of L’Uraku, Don Maruyama formerly of the Parc Café in
Waikiki and Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya. I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually
expanded to a neighborhood near you.
Food for the Heart