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Sakai of Hawaii chefs pop up in Lotus Honolulu


Left: Greg Profeta, right: Koji Tanaka. Photos courtesy of Lotus Honolulu

Sakai of Hawaii and Lotus Honolulu have found a nifty solution to each of their problems. Sakai's opening, which was supposed to be in summer of last year, has been delayed until sometime this summer, due to construction. The restaurant at Lotus Honolulu (previously The Lotus and before that, the W Honolulu) has been dark for years. So Sakai of Hawaii's two chefs, Greg Profeta and Koji Tanaka, currently kitchenless, will be popping up in the Lotus Honolulu, presenting two limited-release menus.

Before Greg Profeta was tapped for Sakai of Hawaii, he was the executive chef of Restaurant Marc Forgione in New York, a restaurant Sam Sifton of The New York Times deemed a "model neighborhood restaurant" serving food with Italian, French and Southeast Asian notes. Profeta draws on his experience at Restaurant Marc Forgione for his four-course menu which includes a first dish of avocado mousse, maca root, miso dressing and caviar; and a seared scallops course with pink pepper and cardamom yogurt. (The menu is subject to change.)

Koji Tanaka, who did stints at Forge (Marc Forgione's first restaurant) and La Grenouille, one of the last great French restaurants in New York, creates a menu that's more in line with Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai's signature flavors of French melded with Japanese. On Tanaka's tentative menu: a seafood cocktail with cauliflower puree and wadashi gelee; and a red snapper with lobster sauce and a basil-potato puree.

The pop-ups are a last hurrah for Lotus Honolulu's restaurant space, which in its last years, became a revolving door for chefs. Lotus Honolulu will gut and rebuild the restaurant, making way for a new concept: Peppoli, a restaurant by the Antinori family, an Italian wine producer that is one of the oldest and largest in the world. Peppoli hopes to offer authentic Tuscan dishes, and is slated to open this summer.

Greg Profeta's menu is offered February 14 for $75 and February 15, 16, 17 for $60
Koji Tanaka's menu is offered March 1, 2, 3 for $60
Call 922-1700 for reservations

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