Star-Bulletin Features

Sunday, February 17, 2002


Kevin Aoki, vice president of marketing, left, and his father, Rocky Aoki, founder of Benihana of Tokyo, hosted the grand re-opening of the Hilton Hawaiian Village restaurant Tuesday night.

Benihana’s back at Hilton
after $1.2 million face lift

Star-Bulletin Staff

Taiko drums heralded the grand reopening of Benihana of Tokyo's restaurant in the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Tuesday.

A $1.2 million renovation project begun last October restored and upgraded the 200-year-old farmhouse that was brought to Waikiki from Japan 30 years ago to serve as Benihana's home.

The restaurant has actually been back in business since Christmas, but this week's party marked an official new beginning. In attendance was Rocky Aoki, the founder of the restaurant chain that now numbers 60 eateries internationally. The Hilton restaurant is the largest in the chain.

Benihana's features teppan-yaki cooking -- they call it "eater-tainment." Call 955-5955.

Siu opens take-out eatery

Russell Siu, chef and owner of Kaka'ako Kitchen and 3660 on the Rise, this week opened a take-out restaurant at Airport Industrial Park.

Kaka'ako Kitchen Express is a casual, cafeteria-style outlet, open for breakfast and lunch. Plate-lunch favorites, from beef stew to pork hekka, are on the menu, along with Kaka'ako Kitchen's specialty sandwiches and salads.

Take-out bentos offer a combination of shoyu chicken, mahi-mahi or garlic chicken with Spam and furikake rice.

Kaka'ako Kitchen Express is open weekdays, 6:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 833-3322.

Maui gets a Ruby's Diner

Ruby's Diner, a chain that stretches from California's Balboa Pier to New York City's Times Square opened Tuesday on Maui.

The diner, in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center in Kahului reflects a 1940s theme, dressed up in red and white formica and chrome, plus models of the vintage airplanes that first brought visitors to the islands by air.

Ruby Cavanaugh, left, namesake of Ruby's, joined waitress Desiray Mara, center, and daughter Jane Cavanaugh Lohrbach at a pre-opening party for the Maui restaurant.

Ruby's specializes in all manner of burgers, from beef to veggie. Salads, chili, soups, sandwiches, shakes and malts round out the menu.

Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 248-RUBY.

Special events

Australian Regional Cuisine Week: The cuisine of chef Sandor Palmai of Landaus Restaurant in Australia will be featured Tuesday through Feb. 23 at Orchids at the Halekulani Hotel.

A three-course fixed-price dinner offers two choices per course. The menu: Seared Diver Scallops and Boudin Noir or White Corn and Crab Custard, Smoked Mahimahi or Roast Loin of Milk Veal and White Chocolate and Lime Parfait Cinnamon Wafers with Caramelized Pineapple. Cost is $38.

Orchids is also offering Palmai's specialties on its Executive Luncheon menu, at $21 for two courses; $25 for three.

Call 923-2311.

Soups and sandwiches: The Beachside Cafe at the Sheraton Moana Surfrider is focusing on contemporary versions of the soup-and-sandwich combination in a special promotion through Feb. 28. Pair up chilled Okinawa sweet potato vichyssoise, garnished with pipikaula, with curried beef in pita bread. Or maybe chicken broth with lemongrass, shrimp, mushrooms, long rice and mustard cabbage, and a sandwich of lomi-style salmon on a macadamia roll. Soup selections run $4.50; sandwiches start at $12.75. A soup-sandwich combo is $15.95. Call 922-3111.

President's Day special: L'Uraku's Weekender four-course lunch will be offered on tomorrow's holiday, showcasing a new menu from chef Hiroshi Fukui: Crispy Japanese Kisu (Sand Borer), Mixed Green Salad, entrée choice and dessert. Cost is $16 for entrées including Eggplant Stuffed with Island Chicken Hash, Seafood Udon or Panko-ed Shrimp Katsu. Pay a few dollars more for Grilled Marinated Lamb Chops, Garlic Steak or Miso-Yaki Butter Fish, Call 955-0552.

Chefs de Cuisine lauded

The Kona-Kohala chapter of Chefs de Cuisine has been recognized by the American Culinary Foundation for its efforts to ease hunger among children.

The foundation's Little Oscar Award for the western region was given to the Big Island group at a conference last month. The group was also named Chapter of the Year.

In addition, chapter member Tasha Shelden, pastry chef at the Martini Yacht Club, was named Junior Member of the Year for the western region and is a finalist for the national title to be awarded in July.

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