Three new restaurants: 678 Hawaii, Greens and Vines, HASR Bistro
Carnivores, vegans and wine, oh my!
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31 N. Pauahi St., 533-4277, hasrbistro.com
Appetizers $10-$21, Entrées $24-$36
Roll back the years to 2004, when Rodney Uyehara was chef at the Bistro at Century Center, before all the new places served small plates, before vegan restaurants infiltrated our meat-loving town. Do you miss that time? Then go to HASR Bistro.
Uyehara has returned. Previously known for updating classic Continental dishes such as osso buco and steak Diane at the Bistro, his creativity was kept mostly under wraps when he started working at the Moana Surfrider’s Beachhouse, a play-it-straight steak and seafood restaurant. But now, at HASR Bistro, he’s picked up right where he left off.
HASR Bistro is in the old Grand Café and Bakery space, sharing a courtyard with HASR Wine Co. Terry Kakazu owns both (as well as Terry’s Place, a dive bar with live music nightly in Chinatown Cultural Plaza). HASR stands for Highly Allocated (aka hard to get) Spoiled Rotten (referring to Kakazu, for getting those highly allocated wines). Kakazu opened HASR Wine Co. eight years ago, occasionally hosting wine dinners in the courtyard. When Grand Café vacated last year, she jumped at the restaurant space. After all, what is wine without food?
Uyehara’s food is a perfect match for wine: rich, hearty, meaty dishes. He’s a master of slow-cooking. His cassoulet is a stew of veal, duck confit, sausage and beans, the ultimate meat-lovers chili by way of the South of France. For the osso buco, he uses veal cheeks instead of the traditional lamb shank (the dish’s name refers to the marrow hole in a cross-cut shank bone). The cheeks practically melt into the bed of mushroom risotto, and while the dab of applesauce on top seems odd, I like its added sweetness to cut the richness.