Grind Time: Stage lifts curtain on new era

Mar. 7, 2014 | 0 Comments

Guests mingle inside Stage before a VIP dinner celebrating the return of Executive Chef Ron De Guzman and a redesign of the restaurant. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Guests mingle inside Stage Restaurant before a VIP dinner celebrating the return of Executive Chef Ron De Guzman and a redesign of the dining room. The artwork in the background is by French artist Jean Raphael. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

BY JASON GENEGABUS / jason@staradvertiser.com

A select group of VIP guests joined Honolulu Design Center owner Thomas Sorensen on Thursday for a lavish, seven-course meal that celebrated the redesign of Stage Restaurant — a “newly inspired Front of House,” according to an invitation — and the return of executive chef Ron De Guzman to the kitchen.

“Beyond Wicked” was a private debut of the new Stage, which will continue to update its “sets and props” in the coming months as De Guzman simultaneously introduces changes to the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menus. Thursday’s VIP meal served as a showcase for the Leeward Community College graduate, who is back in the kitchen at Stage following stints at Sam Choy’s Seafood and Grill and the yet-to-open Sky Bar at the Top of Waikiki.

An event "program" shared information about the featured artists as well as a menu for the night's meal.(Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

An event “program” shared information about the featured artists as well as a menu for the night’s meal.(Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Among the seating options for guests was this long communal table. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Among the seating options for guests was this long communal table. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

HERE’S WHAT Chef De Guzman served guests on Thursday night:

AMUSE BOUCHE

Grilled Cheese and Truffle Sandwiches. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Grilled Cheese and Truffle Sandwiches. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)


ACT ONE

Hamachi Sashimi with Shoyu Gelee, Orange and Wasabi Tobiko, Wasabi Paint, Crispy Radish Salad and Ponzu Sauce; paired with Dassai 50 Sake. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Hamachi Sashimi with Shoyu Gelee, Orange and Wasabi Tobiko, Wasabi Paint, Crispy Radish Salad and Ponzu Sauce. Paired with Dassai 50 Sake. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)


ACT TWO

Caramelized Diver Scallop with Scallion Rice “Cream,” Cauliflower Duo, Caviar and Lemon Zest. Paired with 2013 Peju Souvignon Blanc. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Caramelized Diver Scallop with Scallion Rice “Cream,” Cauliflower Duo, Caviar and Lemon Zest. Paired with 2013 Peju Souvignon Blanc. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)


INTERMEZZO

Wasabi Apple Sorbet. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Wasabi Apple Sorbet. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)


ACT THREE

Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Kabocha Puree, Brussel Sprouts, Foie Gras and Demi Glace. Served with 2012 J Vineyards “Estate” Pinot Noir. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Kabocha Puree, Brussel Sprouts, Foie Gras and Demi Glace. Served with 2012 J Vineyards “Estate” Pinot Noir. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)


ACT FOUR

Prime Steak with Bone Marrow Butter, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Asparagus, Baby Carrots and Cabernet Reduction. Served with 2010 Ladera Cabernet. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Prime Steak with Bone Marrow Butter, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Asparagus, Baby Carrots and Cabernet Reduction. Served with 2010 Ladera Cabernet. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)


ACT FIVE

Colorado Lamb with Herb-Honey Mustard, Lamb Jus, Yukon Potato Puree and Herb Oil. Served with 2011 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Colorado Lamb with Herb-Honey Mustard, Lamb Jus, Yukon Potato Puree and Herb Oil. Served with 2011 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)


FINALE

 Guava-Lilikoi Pearls with Hawaiian Honey Ice Cream, Tahitian Vanilla Macerated Strawberries, Coconut Powder and Maui Pineapple Emulsification. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Guava-Lilikoi Pearls with Hawaiian Honey Ice Cream, Tahitian Vanilla Macerated Strawberries, Coconut Powder and Maui Pineapple Emulsification. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

THURSDAY’S EVENT also showcased the work of four international artists: James Chiew, Jordi Gomez, Jean Raphael and Maximillian Wiedemann. According to Sorensen, he discovered their work while in Germany for a furniture trade show.

“I was walking the halls and I saw this exhibit of the best photography I’ve ever seen,” he said. “And I said, ‘I must have it for Stage Restaurant.’ So I put a collection together.

“I was just in awe. What grabbed me was the intensity and the size of the artwork.”

One of the pieces of artwork created by international photographer Jordi Gomez makes quite a statement in the dining room at Stage. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

One of the pieces of artwork created by international photographer Jordi Gomez makes quite a statement in the dining room at Stage. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Now living in the Netherlands, James Chiew was born in Singapore. These are two of his pieces on display at Stage Restaurant in the Honolulu Design Center. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Now living in the Netherlands, James Chiew was born in Singapore. These are two of his pieces on display at Stage Restaurant in the Honolulu Design Center. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Jean Raphael's artwork on display at Stage Restaurant in the Honolulu Design Center. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Jean Raphael’s artwork on display at Stage Restaurant in the Honolulu Design Center. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Raphael and Wiedemann’s work will appeal to pop culture fans, while the size and scope of Chiew and Gomez’s photography will cause you to stop and stare in amazement. Sorensen said pieces will range in price from $1,500 to about $5,000 once everything has arrived in Hawaii; the art on display during Thursday’s dinner was hung by Sorensen himself earlier this week after he spent $7,000 to have it shipped via air freight.

“I couldn’t wait to get them in,” Sorensen said. “They are gorgeous … on the wall, they’re dramatic. Absolutely dramatic and fun.

“This was my vision for Stage when we built the building in ’07. I wanted to make it a community house, an art exhibit, a place where you just come and dream. … This is a place to show off and just bring a little bit more (excitement) into Hawaii.”

Thomas Sorensen greets his guests at Stage Restaurant on Thursday. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Thomas Sorensen greets his guests at Stage Restaurant on Thursday. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Sorensen said the remaining artwork is en route to Honolulu and will be here in time for an art exhibit on May 1. Everything on display will be available for purchase, he added.
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“Grind Time” is always looking for the latest places to get your grub on. Email Jason Genegabus with restaurant, bar or any other food/drink-related item at jason@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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