Lance Kosaka Brings His Greatest Hits to Mariposa’s Sunset Lounge Menu
The former Alan Wong’s and 53 by the Sea chef balances local-style appetites with Neiman Marcus luxury.
The garlic chicken sliders came out immediately. Even the server was surprised by how quickly they arrived. It’s as if the kitchen could tell how much we missed them. The plate lunch in a sandwich—fried garlic chicken smothered with furikake mac salad and sandwiched between a soft roll—is one of my favorite inventions from chef Lance Kosaka. Over the summer, the former Alan Wong’s, 53 by the Sea, Top of Waikīkī and Café Julia chef took over as executive chef at Mariposa and brought some of his greatest hits: the fried garlic chicken sandwiches ($15) and salmon ochazuke ($35), a riff on the humble bowl of rice and green tea. Kosaka gives it a luxe touch with a creamy risotto and tops it with salmon, ikura and pickles. Hot green tea is poured tableside. For Mariposa’s sunset menu, it also comes in snack form: the risotto rolled into arancini ($12) and crowned with trout roe.
Mariposa recently added a day for its sunset lounge menu—it’s now offered from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. It’s Mariposa’s way of easing back into dinner hours (the restaurant has not reopened for dinner since the pandemic). So lean into aperitivo hour with a spritz spiked with sake ($9). Most of the menu is pūpū style, including the succulent kiawe-smoked pork chop ($28), accompanied by lettuce to wrap the bite-size pieces in. Kosaka tries to balance local-style appetites with Neiman Marcus luxury: there’s a smoked brisket sandwich ($20) and a lighter seafood salad ($34), with warabi plucked from Mānoa Valley, and tossed with Kona abalone and slices of raw kampachi in a lemon soy vinaigrette. The menu combined with Mariposa’s lovely open-air setting (and relative calm on a recent Friday) provide a respite from holiday shopping madness.
Third floor inside Neiman Marcus, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 951-3420, neimanmarcus.com/restaurants/honolulu%20/hi/mariposa/honolulu%20-%20ala%20moana, @mariposahawaii