Alan Wong shares his latest kudos with staff
Manhattan-based dining hobbyist, food blogger and restaurant critic Steve Plotnicki has been creating a stir with his recently self-published Opinionated About Dining 2008 Fine Dining Survey.
As your columnist has not sampled the molecular gastronomy at Alinea
, Grant Achatz's Chicago culinary temple, er, restaurant, ours will simply be to note that the only Plotnicki-pick in paradise is Alan Wong's Restaurant
on King Street.
Wong is honored by the recognition, "and I give (the staff) all the credit, sincerely, because it validates why they do what they do on a daily basis -- why they work so hard," he told TheBuzz.
"Running a restaurant is never a singular effort," Wong said. A customer's experience depends on each member of the staff.
"You're only as good as your last plate or your last customer, so we always strive to be the best we can and to take care of every customer the best we can," he said.
Plotnicki's 120-point scale rates restaurants with 105 points and up as being "Worth Planning a Trip Around."
Eateries scoring 100 to 104 points are "Worth Going out of Your Way For," and 95 to 99 points earned a "Top Local Choice" distinction.
Wong's flagship restaurant rated 98 points.
It is among 99-pointers such as L'Atelier de Jol Robuchon and WD-50 in New York City. Wylie Dufresne, chef-owner of the latter, will be familiar to "Top Chef" viewers.
Wong's did a point better than Morimoto, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto's eponymous Philadelphia restaurant.
OMG, did your columnist really use that pretentious word? Eponymous simply means the joint bears the chef's name.
Wong has only anecdotal information on the number of people who dine at his restaurant after reading a guide.
Word of mouth is a much stronger driver, he said. "If you put food in someone's mouth and they like it, they're going to talk about it."
It doesn't hurt that the food in people's mouths at Alan Wong's is created by a 1996 James Beard Foundation Award winner for Best Chef in the Pacific Northwest/Hawaii.
This year, Wong is a semifinalist for Outstanding Chef -- as in, across the nation -- for a second time.
Among the 20 semifinalists for Best Chef Pacific are Bev Gannon of Joe's in Wailea, Maui and Peter Merriman of Merriman's in Waimea, on the Big Island.
The nominations are, "great for the state of Hawaii," he said, for the whole food scene including restaurants and the agricultural community.
The final finalists will be named tomorrow, with winners to be revealed in June.
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