National honors for Hawaii's wine-focused restaurants
A TOTAL of 36 Hawaii restaurants made it onto Wine Spectator magazine's 2007 Dining Guide, bearing 3,955 restaurants in all.
Some names on the list are surprising, but more surprising is the absence of others.
Any company can pay $250 to have each of its restaurants' wine lists considered, but the magazine says placement is not guaranteed.
Hawaii has no restaurants among the Grand Award list's 76, but we have three of the 748 on the Best Award of Excellence list, whose restaurants average 500 wine choices.
Two are Longhi's, in Lahaina and Wailea -- the other is the Castaway Cafe in Kaanapali. Wine Spectator calls Castaway's wine pricing inexpensive and Longhi's, expensive.
The wine pricing is moderate at most of the 33 Hawaii restaurants with an Award of Excellence. It is the magazine's basic award for well-chosen selections that complement the menu in price and style.
That list is 3,131 restaurants long and ranges alphabetically from 3660 on the Rise and Aaron's Atop the Ala Moana to The Grill on the Big Island and The Waterfront Restaurant on Maui.
In between, listees include new and tried and true, from Brasserie Du Vin and La Mer on Oahu, Merriman's on the Big Island and Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar on Maui.
Chef-owner D.K. Kodama was pleased to hear Sansei was listed again.
The guys in the top tier can have "millions of dollars" invested in their wine inventory, he said. "A lot of restaurants can't do that, so most restaurants, like us, have $50,000 to $100,000, even $200,000," in wines to offer.
Neither he nor partner and master sommelier Chuck Furuya believed the company's other restaurants had entered this year, but Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas, Vino and Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar were on Wine Enthusiast magazine's 2006 list, released in February.
Sante magazine, a restaurant industry publication, cited Honolulu's Vino for wine hospitality as one of the top Bistros in the United States.
"It's nice to be recognized," Furuya said, "but I'm worried about the customer tonight."
Hawaii's Wine Spectator list
Wine Spectator magazine has released its 2007 Dining Guide of restaurants that prioritize their wine lists.
The magazine Web site has scheduled maintenance for today, July 22, so the Star-Bulletin prepared this list of Hawaii's listees for your perusal. On wine pricing, (E) is expensive, (M) is moderate and (I) is inexpensive.
Best Award of Excellence winners:
Restaurant, location (wine pricing)
Castaway Cafe, Kaanapali (I)
Longhi's, Lahaina (E)
Longhi's, Wailea (E)
Award of Excellence winners:
Restaurant (wine pricing), island (if other than Oahu)
3660 On The Rise (M)
Aaron's Atop the Ala Moana (M)
Alan Wong's Restaurant (M)
Bali By The Sea (E)
Brasserie Du Vin (M)
Capische? (M) Maui
Chart House Waikiki (M)
David Paul's Lahaina Grill (E) Maui
Donatoni's (M) Hawaii
Five Palms Beach Grill (M) Maui
Gerard's (M) Maui
I'O (E) Maui
Kau'iki (M) Maui
Kamuela Provision Co. Restaurant (E) Hawaii
La Mer (E)
Longhi's Ala Moana (M)
Mama's Fish House (M) Maui
Merriman's (M) Hawaii
Morton's, The Steakhouse (E)
Nick's Fishmarket (E) Maui
Pacific'O (M) Maui
Pahu I'a - (M) Hawaii
Pineapple Grill (M) Maui
Plantation House Restaurant (E) Maui
Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (E) Maui
Sarento's On The Beach (E) Maui
Sarento's Top of the I (E)
Son'z At Swan Court (M) Maui
The Grill (M) Hawaii
The Waterfront Restaurant (M) Maui
Source: Wine Spectator magazine
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org