Guenoc and Langtry Vineyards wine dinner at Tiki's



Ronnie Nasuti of Tiki's Grill and Bar

Courtesy of Tiki's

"We are what we are, a big touristy restaurant," says Ronnie Nasuti of Tiki's Grill and Bar, "but we're trying to break the stigma a little bit."

Hence Tiki's wine dinners, which offer Nasuti the opportunity to flex his culinary muscle while bringing in wine makers, often the only non-locals at the sold-out dinners. The third dinner, coming up next week, features Guenoc and Langry Vineyards wines, and Nasuti's planning an impressively creative menu for it.

The first course: opihi with a Guenoc Lake County Sauvignon Blanc. "I love that opihi's minerally, briny and strong, but I prefer it cooked over raw, call me a haole," Nasuti says. "I want to smooth it out a little for the wine." He'll be sautéing them slightly in butter, then tossing it with yuzu ponzu.

Second course: a scallop sphere—the scallop pounded thin, then wrapped around a salmon mousse and steamed like a dumpling. Then, Nasuti will top it with a bit of uni butter and smoked trout or salmon roe. Paired with a Guenoc Lake Country Chardonnay.

I'm excited about the third course because it features local rabbit, an ingredient I've been seeing around town (mostly at 12th Ave Grill and Salt). So it makes sense when Nasuti says he got his hookup for the rabbit through his best friend, chef Jason Schoonover at 12th Ave Grill. Nasuti will make a ravioli out of gnocchi dough (!) and stuff it with rabbit confit.

On eating rabbit, Nasuti says growing up, "my mom fed us rabbit and told us it was chicken. I guess since we had rabbits as pets, she thought it would bother us, but it didn't bother me."

The fourth course is a trio of game meats—elk, Big Island wild boar and buffalo—to accompany a flight of Langtry Estate Petite Sirah of different vintages. Nasuti says he tasted the wines and thought they would make natural pairings for game, another meat he grew up eating (apparently, his stepdad was a "woodsy type, a lumberjack" who hunted venison and other game).

Seats for the dinner must be purchased in advance, at tikilangtreeguenoc.eventbrite.com.
The Guenoc and Langtry Vineyards Wine Dinner is Monday, March 11, 6 p.m., $59.

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