Grind Time: Dining ‘Ala Cart’ at Hiroshi

Apr. 8, 2014 | 0 Comments

Small plates were placed on rolling carts and pushed around the dining room at Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas during Ala Cart on Saturday. (Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

Small plates were placed on rolling carts and pushed around the dining room at Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas during Ala Cart on Saturday. (Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

BY JASON GENEGABUS / jason@staradvertiser.com

It’s an exciting time to be in the kitchen at Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas at Waterfront Plaza.

Yes, there’s excitement of a different kind going on behind the scenes — the restaurant’s namesake, Hiroshi Fukui, is suing former business partners D.K. Kodama and Chuck Furuya (who have since countersued) after being fired last year from the business he helped launch in 2004 — but it thankfully appears that drama hasn’t made its way into the dining room.

With the addition of executive chef John Iha, executive sous chef Axelrod Colobong and pastry chef Cherie Pascua, subtle changes began showing up on the menu in recent months. Iha and his staff utilized Hiroshi’s daily specials list as a means to experiment with new flavors and preparation methods.

Their creativity was on display last weekend when the restaurant hosted its first Ala Cart event, offering guests an experience similar to what you’d see when going out for dim sum. Ten new tapas dishes were showcased via rolling carts that made their way around the dining room and allowed for guests to get a close-up look at each plate served.

“All the items have been specials on our daily special list,” explained Hiroshi general manager Jason Pohlman, who spent Saturday night pushing a cart himself and visiting with guests to explain what was going on. “We have filtered through all of them to collect guest feedback and see what works. … We are working on more dates to have Ala Cart Night (in the future) and we also plan to make it a regular event.“

For now, diners can expect to see “as many as three or four” dishes from the Ala Cart menu back on the daily specials list at Hiroshi.

Here’s a look at the 10 featured tapas served on Saturday:

Yukari Seared Ahi and Compressed Watermelon with Creamy Yuzu Vinaigrette, Taegu and Shiso ($6.95).

Ahi with Compressed Watermelon

(Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

Mrs. Cheng’s Tofu Salad with Asian Vinaigrette, Housemade Mahi Flakes, Crispy Salmon Skin, Ginger Chips, Yamagobo and Kaiware Sprouts ($5.95).

Tofu Salad

(Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

Crispy Skin Kampachi with Contemporary Black Bean Sauce, Ume Air and Ginger ($7.95).

Crispy Kampachi

(Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

Kona Kampachi Crudo with Tomato Relish, Kahuku Corn, Spicy Aioli and Ponzu Sauce ($6.95).

Kampachi Crudo

(Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

Oven-Roasted Kauai Shrimp with Miso Butter and Sugar Snap Pea Salad ($6.95).

Kauai Shrimp

(Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

Steamed Oio Dumplings with Truffled Ogo Soy Dashi ($5.95).

Oio Dumplings

(Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

Kona Cold Lobster Cake with Kaffir Lime and Lemongrass Butter Sauce, Braised Celery and Konbu ($8.95).

Lobster

(Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

“Caprese Salad” with Housemade Yukari Mozzarella, Hau’ula Tomatoes, Shiso and Citrus Vinaigrette ($5.95).

Caprese

(Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

>Island Tako Karaage with Konbu Aioli ($8.95).

Tako Karaage

(Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

Oven-Roasted Shinsato Pork Belly with Apple Pancetta-Stuffed Kabocha Blossom ($8.95).

Shinsato Farms Pork Belly

(Star-Advertiser Photo by Jason Genegabus)

WHILE DEFINITELY not a casual restaurant, the great thing about dining at Hiroshi is the comfort found in the consistency of dishes coming out of the kitchen.

Nearly everything we ate on Saturday was pleasant to look at and even more enjoyable to devour. Flavors were balanced and familiar, the dishes executed in a manner that wasn’t as much about shock-and-awe as it was about sending out plates that were sure to satisfy.

Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas is located at Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd. Call (808) 533-4476 for reservations.
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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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