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Star-Bulletin Features


Sunday, January 13, 2002


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KEN IGE / KIGE@STARBULLETIN.COM
That's the way to do it! Chef Bill Lurito, left, and executive chef/co-founder Vittorio Renda show off a dish ready to eat at Buca di Beppo Restaurant at Ward Entertainment Center.



Ward’s new Italian eatery
caters to family comfort

An Italian option has just been added to the dining choices at the Ward Entertainment Center.

Dinner and a movie can now include specialties of Southern Italy from Buca di Beppo, a 500-seat restaurant that is one of the largest of the 68 in the Minneapolis-based chain. Opening night was Friday.

The menu is described as "family-style comfort food," reflecting the heritage of company president Joe Micatrotto, whose family hails from Campobasso, Italy.

Presiding locally is executive chef Vittorio Renda of Calabria, Italy, a man who thinks big. His signature Spaghetti and Meat Balls boasts 2-1/2 pounds of pasta and three baseball-sized meat balls. His Chicken Cacciatore, involves an entire roast chicken.

In the Southern Italian tradition, all menu items are served on family platters, meant to be shared.

Lesser-known regional specialties include Rigatoni Positano (pasta in marinara sauce, with sautéed chicken, eggplant and mozzarella) and Veal Limone (scaloppini with escarole, cannellini beans and a lemon sauce).

Call 591-0800.

The wine man cometh

Thomas J. Mackey, winemaker for St. Francis Vineyard and Winery in Sonoma Valley, Calif., is in town this week to introduce the winery's single-vineyard reserve program.

Four wines were released under the single-vineyard designation last fall through a program considered "the pillar of St. Francis' vision for the future." The designation means all the grapes for a particular wine come from vines at one site.

Mackey will host a four-course dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The menu: Scallops with lemon butter (paired with Chardonnay 2000), beef carpaccio with mustard aioli (Merlot 1999), ribeye steak and garlic mashed potatoes (with Reserve Merlot 1998 "Behler Vineyard" and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 "Nuns Canyon") and flourless chocolate cake (with Old Vine Zinfandel).

Cost is $55. Call 599-3860.

Another winemaker's dinner will be held at Longhi's on Maui Tuesday. Call (808) 667-2288.

Dinner and a show

Diners headed for Manoa Valley Theatre's production of "Over the River and Through the Woods" may have their dinner on the theater's lanai, then stroll to their seats.

Donato's Restaurant is providing dinner beginning 90 minutes prior to curtain time Wednesdays through Saturdays. The fixed-price menu will change weekly and costs $12 for dinner; $3.50 for dessert. Call 988-6131.

For those who'd rather eat at Donato's in Manoa Marketplace, diners who show their theater tickets may have a three-course meal of soup or salad, one of five entrée selections and dessert, with a glass of wine, for $22.95.

The restaurant is also offering post-show antipasti, with a 10 percent discount for ticket-holders. Call 988-2000.

Best new restaurants

Food & Wine magazine in its January issue has named six restaurants as the best new places to eat in Hawaii.

Recognized are: Pavilion Cafe in the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Lucy's Grill and Bar in Kailua, the Pineapple Room in Macy's Ala Moana, Coconuts Island Style Grill & Wine Bar on Kauai, Daniel Thiebaut on the Big Island and Spago on Maui.

Special events

Swiss Inn Dinner: Martin Wyss, former owner of the Swiss Inn, makes a guest appearance Saturday at Bali by the Sea in the Hilton Hawaiian Village. A five-course menu has been built around Wyss' veal specialties. Entrée choices include Veal Medallions Florentine (with bacon, cheese and spinach), Veal Emince Zurich Style (with wine and cream sauce) and Veal Medallion Swiss Inn (with porcini mushrooms and bordelaise sauce). The seafood alternative is onaga. An appetizer of Air-Dried Beef and Swiss-Smoked Salami with Pickles rounds out the menu, along with Beef Consommé, salad and dessert. Cost is $55. Call 941-2254.

Grape Expectations: Indigo has introduced a weekly wine-tasting night, featuring local vendors who will present and explain their wines. The tasting begins at 6 p.m. each Tuesday.

This week's wines from Chambers and Chambers include Acacia Chardonay 2000, King Estate Pino Gris 1999, Carmenet-Dynamite Merlot 1999, Hawk Crest Cabernet Sauvignon 1998, Bele Casel Prosecco Champagne and Ambderhill Cabernet 1997. Cost is $15, which includes fruit and cheese. Call 521-2900.

Winemaker Dinner: Wines from Tattinger in France and Domaine Carneros in California will be featured, 6 p.m. Wednesday at Hoku's in the Kahala Mandarin Oriental. Cost is $95. Call 739-8780.


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