Thursday, May 21, 2009
Azure @ the Royal Hawaiian Hotel
It was another birthday celebration tonight @ the newly renovated Royal Hawaiian Hotel's restaurant AZURE.
A very interesting fact about the hotel's renovation - it costs them 90 million dollars to renovate the hotel. It has a new clean feel, but with the old Hawaiiana charm. I like it. It has a new sense of elegance and a great sense of place. Open airy, crisp and approachable.
I felt like I was vacationing in South Beach, Miami, Florida, but with better weather, cleaner ocean, and friendly people. And no planted beautiful people models in the lobby, imposing as hotel guests.
So, tonight at Azure we started with cocktails designed by Joey the famous Honolulu mixologist and wines from Carneros (the vintner was sitting right across from us). The night was beautiful and balmy and the restaurant buzzing with an international cast of guests.
We decided to order "family style", so we could taste a number of items off the menu. We started with a bowl of steamed sake clams w/ enoki mushrooms, baby back ribs, and a platter of sashimi over an avocado salad. The manila clams were my favorite - the broth was filled with ginger, green onions, sake, enoki mushrooms, and garlic. The presentation highlight was the waiter, at the table, poured the broth from a press and the area smelled of fresh ginger when he was pouring it...ummmm. The ribs were okay, it reminded me of Roy's ribs and my question is why ribs on a menu in Hawaii? That always puzzles me? I would take it off the menu. The sashimi was okay, fish was fresh, but just okay.
For dinner we had the shellfish bowl and the rack of lamb with 3 side dishes. Braised Big Island spinach, corn & hamakua mushroom confetti, and a bowl of smashed potatos. Everything was prepared perfectly, but nothing really WOWed me.
The service was wonderful, attentive, but not overpowering and the restaurant manager was on it and helpful. The whole staff was great.
Check out their website: http://www.royal-hawaiian.com/the-resort/dining-entertainment/azure/
Overall rating - 4
Food - 3
Service - 5