Color me Deep Blue
The so-called supper club’s atmosphere and food need tweaking
The return of the supper club is a timely idea. For rabid multitaskers, it's ideal. You can eat, drink and be entertained all at the same time. For noncommunicative serial daters, the performers provide distraction, rendering chitchat unnecessary. How much is truthful anyway?
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa, 2424 Kalakaua Ave. / 922-4992
Hours: Dinner service 6 to 10 p.m. daily; light menu and desserts 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Cost: About $8 to $15 per dish; $5 cover from 7 to 10 p.m. Note: Azure McCall currently performs nightly except Tuesday and Saturday
Indigo and Dave & Buster's have made forays into dinner theater, but Deep Blue is the first establishment to bill itself as a permanent supper club, combining meals and diverse entertainment, from jazz to disco dancing to deejays.
I'll leave it to "Barfly" columnist Jason Genegabus to fill you in on the entertainment at a later date, because at this point it's more of a nightclub than supper club. There's a menu of pupu-style dishes available, but a glance around the room showed few people noshing in the early evening, from 8 to 10 p.m., and there are few reasons for doing so.
The nightclub idea could turn out to be more profitable than the dinner idea. I showed up on a Friday night when Azure McCall was performing, and at that early hour the crowd skewed toward Mick Jagger's age. Most seemed content to nurse a single glass of white wine all night, without a single bite to eat.
COURTESY DEEP BLUE
Imagine this dragon roll and rainbow roll under clear blue acetate and you'll get a sense of the ambience of Deep Blue.
Not that I blame them. Deep Blue might have been really exciting as high concept -- an all-blue room with an underwater theme (dolphin murals, splashing!) and blue lights (splendid!) -- but in reality, blue is among the least appetizing colors. Imagine the photo of sushi on this page appearing not as clear as the light of day, but covered in two layers of dark blue acetate. That's how I saw all the food that night, in a midnight shade of sickly blue-black, like the backdrop to a Tim Burton film. Half the pleasure of a dining experience lies in being able to see what you're eating, not that any extra effort is made with presentation here.
But even the dark blue lighting wasn't enough to hide dirty glasses and the oily sheen of bacon-wrapped shrimp ($12) tucked into an additional crisp layer of deep-fried spring roll wrapper.
I'm not sure what the lighting conditions are in the kitchen, but they were slow to deliver plates even though only a few patrons were ordering.
THE MENU continues the fun-food, Japanese-fusion aesthetic started on this site by former Furusato and Youme.n pop-chef artist Kiyoshi.
I saw a couple ordering oyster shooters ($8.50 for three glasses) in a mixture of ponzu, "special sauce" and quail egg. Maybe it's best not to be able to see a concoction like this before suckin' 'em up. It doesn't look so good in pictures. Maybe this is where you head before trying out for "Fear Factor" or "Survivor."
Tamer dishes can be had, such as a baby arugula salad ($8.25) tossed with Bosc pears, Roquefort cheese, walnuts and a light toasted walnut vinaigrette. There is also a short stack of tomatoes served Italian style ($8.25) with layers of sliced mozzarella and basil and drizzled with olive oil.
Not being able to see the food made me play it safe by filling my plate with vegetables, though a grilled vegetable Napoleon didn't seem worth the $8.25 with so few pieces of bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, zucchini and slices of deep-fried lotus, splashed with balsamic vinegar.
I felt the same way about a 4-ounce serving of seared, sliced filet mignon. At $15 you'd do better ordering grilled steak at an izakaya, though you wouldn't have the benefit of listening to live jazz.
You can skip the skewered lamb ($13.50), which is coated in so much barbecue sauce it might as well be beef. You'd also do just as well buying smoked salmon from a supermarket than ordering it here for $11.
Half-roll portions of sushi run $5.50 for a combination of asparagus and avocado to $9 for the dragon roll of unagi and avocado, but sushi, like dessert, is best enjoyed in complete view, so I skipped both, even though a fresh fruit and ice cream sundae ($12) did seem refreshing in concept.
But I had had enough. McCall had left the stage, and as sensitive as I am to color, I had to leave as well.