Coming soon: Vintage Cave, a new restaurant and "private society" concept in Honolulu

One of the private dining rooms at Vintage Cave

[12/10/12: Plans are now to make Vintage Cave entirely public; it will not be a member-only club after a year, as stated below. It is essentially, then, a regular restaurant. Memberships will still be offered, which allow for wine storage at Vintage Cave.]

Every once in a while, there's a restaurant that sets the entire industry buzzing. Vintage Cave is it—the topic of conversation with chefs from Sushi Sasabune to the Hawaii Restaurant Association Hall of Fame Awards. (Three full page ads in the Star Advertiser also ensured it would get noticed.) It's probably the most talked about restaurant-in-progress of the year, currently being polished in the basement of Shirokiya. This is partially owing to the players involved: chef Chris Kajioka, plucked out of San Francisco's Parallel 37 by Takeshi Sekiguchi, Vintage Cave's bankroller and the Japanese developer perhaps best known for building the Grand Wailea. Joining Kajioka in the kitchen is pastry chef Rachel Murai, previously of Nobu. The front-of-house manager: Charly Yoshida, most recently from Stage.

Then there's also the concept, one that sounds unbelievable in Honolulu: an eight-table dining room (for a max of 32 diners), with only one tasting menu offered at $295.

Vintage Cave is billed as a "Private Society Elevating Art, Culture and Pleasure." The art, of course, is on the plate (and even the plates themselves, some commissioned by Kajioka), as well as on the walls, which display a series of 18 original Picasso drawings and other artwork.

For the first year, Vintage Cave will be open to the public, but the plans are to make it a member-only club in which membership starts at $5,000 and ratchets up to $500,000, each level offering progressively more wine storage in Vintage Cave's wine cellar and priority on dining reservations. 

"When people want fine dining, they think of New York, Tokyo and Paris," says Eddie Wakida, the project manager for Vintage Cave. "When they think of Honolulu, they think of the beach. We want to change that."

They certainly have the crew to do so. And if money were a consideration in such things, then the money as well: It's a spare-no-expense project, according to Kajioka, who used his connections from previous stints at Per Se (NY) and The Ritz Carlton Dining Room (SF) to procure some extremely exclusive and pristine products.

We wait curiously for the final product, unveiling early December. Look for the full story on Vintage Cave in the magazine in upcoming months.

Vintage Cave, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd.,

Previous coverage on Chris Kajioka: