Grand Opening: Jade Dynasty, Ala Moana Center



There were whole roast pigs at the opening of Jade Dynasty last night. Hard to get any, though.

John Heckathorn

The Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant in Ala Moana Center opened last night with a fair bit of hoop-dee-doo.  One dragon dance on the terrace, three lion dances inside and four roast whole pigs on carts, decked out with red bows.

The former Kyoto Ohsho location has undergone a $3.5 million renovation, turning into a vast, luxe Hong Kong-style eatery.  Last night all 8,000 square feet were emptied of tables and chairs, and still it was shoulder to shoulder in the crowd, at least 600 people—far more than had RSVP'd, noted the event organizers.

The 32-foot stage was crowded with dignitaries, many of them former as in former Gov. Linda Lingle, former Mayor Mufi Hannemann and former HPD chief Lee Donohue. 

On the stage with his family and partners, Alan Ho, cut a red ribbon with golden scissors (center, with his arm up).

Ho is a principal of Pacific Resources, a major building supply firm, with clients like the new Aulani Disney Resort, for which it is supplying, among other things, 2,700 vanities and 6 million board feet of milled lumber.  He's also a principal in two Waikiki eateries, Atlantis Steak and Seafood and Seafood Village.

At Jade Dynasty, Ho's partners include managing partner Ave Kwok and Paradise Banquet Hall, a chain with 22 Hong Kong locations.  Jade Gardens' chef spent two months in Hong Kong training in Cantonese cuisine.

Like the Paradise Banquet Halls, Jade Dynasty will do dim sum, daytime only from 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., no carts, order from a menu of nearly 70 items, from pineapple cream buns to jelly fish with pork shank.  At dinner, there is, Chinese restaurant-style, an almost endless menu of items, which look reasonably priced.

How's the food?  Don't know.

The trouble with having 600 people show up at your restaurant opening at dinner time?  They're all hungry.  Me included. 

Frustrated by the lines that slowly serpentined to all the food stations, I finally ducked next door to Romano's Macaroni Grill for a pizza.  (Not really a desperation move, since Romano's bar is highly pleasant, and the kitchen turns out an excellent, fresh, thin-crust, crispy Italian-style pizza for $12.)

I texted all my friends back at the party.  A number of them eventually joined me, including my friend Sherie.  Bless her.  She brought along food, a plate piled of char siu, chow fun noodles and—hooray!—slices of that great golden roast pork on little steam buns.  I could eat roast pork all night, even after pizza. 

"That pork really looks good. You didn't bring me any?" complained Jeff, the Romano's bartender.

"Oh," said Sherie, "If I'd known I was going to stand in long lines, I wouldn't have worn high heels."  Then she devoured a couple of slices of my pizza.

Needless to say, you'll have to wait for a real review.

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant, Hookipa Terrace, Ala Moana Center,  1450 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 947-8818, jadedynastyhawaii.com

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