Hawaii's Most Expensive Dishes
It's How Much!?: Put your money where your mouth is, with some of Hawaii’s most expensive dishes.
After exploring Hawaii’s cheap eats, we’d like to introduce you to the other end of the food spectrum. From high-quality steaks to rare sea snails, here are seven extravagant dishes (and one drink) available on Oahu and Maui.
A flight of sustainable caviars – Chef Mavro’s
Who wants just one type of caviar when you can get three? A flight of sustainable caviars ($190) serves 10 grams each of Russian Golden Osetra, Siberian Osetra and White Sturgeon. The caviar is arranged on a block of ice, and prepared tableside by the server into individual, rectangular portions on special mother-of-pearl spoons. You also get a table mat with caviar labels so you don’t forget what you’re eating.
Chef George Mavrothalassitis took the dish off the menu 10 years ago, when wild sturgeon became an endangered species. After eight years of searching, he finally found farm-raised caviar in Uruguay, Bulgaria and California that met his standards. The taste had to be fresh, elegant and not too salty. Most important, Mavro says, “When you eat caviar you must feel like you are king!” chefmavro.com, 944-4714.
$52 and up
Wagyu beef -Nobu’s Restaurant
Wagyu is such an expensive breed of cattle that farmers are known to feed them red wine and even give them massages to aid digestion. As a result, we get rich meat filled with unsaturated fat and intense marbling. At Nobu’s, Wagyu beef ($52 and up) from America and Australia is served five ways: shabu shabu, steak, toban, tataki and “new style” sashimi. At $26 per ounce, each style has a different minimum order of two, four or six ounces. The two-ounce tataki beef is seared on the outside and raw on the inside, served with ponzu sauce, shiso leaves, chopped garlic and grated spicy daikon radish. Chef Robin Lee says he sells about a pound and a half every day. noburestaurants.com, 237-6999.
California Estero Bay Abalone – Michel’s
Thank world pollution for the price of California Estero Bay Abalone ($75). This sea snail is a dying breed; many varieties are already extinct. According to chef Hardy Kintscher, Michel’s is the only restaurant on Oahu with big, steaklike abalone from Santa Barbara; most places serve baby Kona abalone. Kintscher prepares two pieces “Parisian style,” finished with macadamia-nut white-wine sauce and served with spaghetti squash, egg-shell pasta and wok spinach. “The flavor is meaty, though delicate,” says Kintscher. “It’s very tender. A little bit more like chicken than fish.” michelshawaii.com, 923-6552.
Spiny-lobster sashimi Mitch’s Seafood
The spiny-lobster sashimi ($65) at Mitch’s is so upscale that master chef Masakazu Murakami refused to answer our questions. “You won’t understand if you haven’t tried it,” he says. “I don’t want to talk about it.” We had better luck with the receptionist: Mitch’s is the only place in Honolulu that serves lobster from New Zealand—other restaurants use Maine lobster. He told us that New Zealand is the only country that grows lobsters in natural, warm seawater instead of cold, and therefore they are “more stable and pure.” The chef will bring out the 1.5-pound rock lobster alive, serve the tail as sashimi and place the head in miso soup. mitchssushi.com, 837-7774.
A Cardinal Sin – Rival’s Lounge
A cocktail that’s worth $250? Well, sort of. A Cardinal Sin comes with a night at the Ohana Waikiki Malia hotel and a pizza to share. The Scotch in the cocktail is aged for 21 years, so the drink alone is worth $90.
It all began when bar owner Michael Kawazoe joined resources with his father, Fukuyoshi, owner of the hotel, to showcase the Glenfiddich 21 and Disaronno Amaretto. “The smooth oak flavor from Scotch and the sweet flavor of the amaretto mix well together,” says bartender Eric Stegg. The drink has been ordered twice, but it’s never been served. The first time, Stegg didn’t have enough Scotch. The second, he had to refuse the order because the customer was too intoxicated. rivalslounge.com, 923-0600.
Bone-in ribeye - Duo’s Steak and Seafood
Dry-aging meat is a complicated process. “Aging of the meat relies on the humidity of an air-controlled room,” says chef Roger Stettler. “The meat dries out, loses water and, as soon as it loses water, the price goes up, because the weight specification is different.” At Duo’s, the 24-ounce bone-in ribeye ($56) is grilled, seasoned with salt and pepper, and flavored with house-made herb butter. Served with fresh Kula corn, Stettler describes the meat as a “more intense, grassy beef flavor that’s stronger than a normal piece of meat.” fourseasons.com/maui, 874-8000.
$116 and up
Hand-caught Hawaiian spiny lobster - Humuhumunukunukuapuaa Restaurant
The hand-caught Hawaiian spiny lobster ($58 per pound, two-pound minimum) is an interactive affair at this Grand Wailea Resort restaurant. After you order the dish, the server will take you down to the restaurant’s saltwater lagoon, where the
lobsters are grown. After you pick one, you decide how you want it cooked. Grilled or steamed? Seasoned with butter? Deshelled? Any requested condiments go on the side, lest they distract from the meaty, already-buttery flavor. The biggest one ever served was a massive five-pounder, for $290. wailearesortdining.com, 888-6100.
Gold label bone-in ribeye steak - Capische
Available only a couple times a month, the gold label bone-in ribeye steak ($200) is American wagyu shipped from Snake River Farm in Idaho. Chef Christopher Kulis, like many chefs, prefer Snake River meat because “it’s not as fatty as Kobe beef and still has lots of marbleization.”
The wagyu is cooked sous-vide for four hours in a vacuum-sealed bag with extra virgin olive oil and rosemary, and then pan-seared at high heat. According to Kulis, most people can’t finish the dry-aged, 48-ounce steak, so plan to share. Served with light and crispy Tuscan potatoes, sweet aged balsamic vinegar and garden arugula salad, the rich meat has a “nice, caramelized finish all around the outside.” capische.com, 879-2224.