What's New in Kailua
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Kailua is ever-evolving. We visited some of the newest offerings in town, and found some terrific options for shopping and dining.
By Sheila Sarhangi
Sizzlin’ Party Pick
We’ve all been there. It’s an hour before a beach party or barbecue and you don’t know what to bring. The Hibachi, which opened in December 2009 in the space that used to be Michael’s Liquor store, solves this predicament by offering a medley of raw marinated meats that are all prepped for you—in gourmet style—and just need to be thrown on the grill. The menu changes often, but, on a recent visit, we scored grass-fed Big Island short ribs, marinated shoyu salmon steaks and Wagyu beef patties larger than a man’s hand.
Poke lovers are in luck, too, since options include everything from limu kukui ahi to kim chee tako poke. As of now, side dishes are an afterthought, but you will find potato salad, clam and artichoke dip, and locally made breads. Added bonus: There’s no need to make an extra stop for alcohol, since the outpost has a large selection of beer, liquors and more than 150 bottles of wine. 515 Kailua Road, 263-7980, thehibachihawaii.com.
Last fall, Muumuu Heaven owner Deb Mascia more than doubled her retail space by taking over the offices of her former neighbor, Century 21. “After two months of construction, our shop went from 1,400 square feet to about 3,500,” she says. The expansion made room for a small gallery, dedicated as a space for local artists such as painter Heather Brown and photographer Clark Little, as well as Mascia’s soon-to-be-released menswear line. Also new is the launch of her homewares collection, which focuses mainly on vintage glassware, such as bowls and vases in every hue imaginable. “A lot of this is my personal collection from traveling,” says Mascia, who mentions London and New York in her escapades. “I didn’t realize how crazy I had gone with glass.” True to her self-professed “mad recycler” nature, the rattan couch, chairs and check-out counter in her new digs are actually the old 1950s bar set taken from her house—only they’ve now been painted white, like the heavens, of course. 767 Kailua Road, 263-3366, muumuuheaven.com.
New Taste Sensation
Here’s a dinner that gives new meaning to the expression “blind faith”—Formaggio Grill’s new “Dining in the Dark” event. Launched in February, and held on Monday nights in the restaurant’s private room, dubbed “The Gallery,” the affair offers a four-course, wine-paired gourmet meal—presented without your sense of sight. How it works: Upon your arrival, you’ll be given a velvet blindfold, the kind you might normally nap in. You won’t be told what you’re eating—which is the main point. “We play with different textures, temperatures and flavors,” says Formaggio owner Wes Zane. “Not being able to see takes away any expectations, and allows you to really explore your food.” If you’re a vegetarian or have food allergies, tell the staff when you reserve your space; they’ll provide a special meal that’s just as tasty. $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. 305 Hahani St., 263-2633, formaggio808.com.