In our latest visit to Honolulu, we decided to dine at Chef Mavro, a restaurant we had dined at several years ago but had not revisited since. The first time we ate there, it was a Valentine’s Day fixed menu, and we thought the dinner was good but not great. However, we revised our opinion after our most recent dinner there. It was clear that the Valentine’s Day menu of several years ago did not show off the breadth and skill of the kitchen. Chef Mavro is indeed a spectacular restaurant.
It is black truffle season, and there was a choice of a 4 course, 6 course, or 11 course menu, with black truffles on certain dishes for an additional surcharge. We picked the 6 course menu, with the addition of black truffles, of course. (I have no doubt that our entire family were truffle-hunting pigs in a previous life.)
The amuse-bouche was hamachi (yellow tail) with just a touch of sea salt. The quality of sushi in Hawaii is indescribable. The only other time we’ve had sushi of this quality is in Japan.
The first course was a truffle egg, consisting of a poached egg with truffled “osmose”, potato mousseline and Serrano ham ribbons. The eggs are stored in the empty truffle box, which infuses them with the wonderfully delicate aroma of black truffles. And this wasn’t even one of the extra truffle courses! This is a sublime dish, with the truffle aroma infusing every single bite of the dish.
Next up was the foie gras. This is sautéed foie gras with a poached black mission fig, and a Portuguese sweet bread crouton. There is never bad foie gras in my book, and this dish certainly fulfilled all the necessary foie gras requirements. And, as you can plainly see, the foie gras is completely covered with delectable black truffles.
foie gras (with truffles)
The third dish was a lemongrass accented lobster tail, served with island avocado, kahuku sweet corn, chipolata, and purple basil. The richness of the lobster was offset by the slight acidity of the lemongrass, and the dish was beautifully served (with black truffles).
lobster (with black truffles)
accompaniment to the lobster
The meat dish was a roasted lamb loin accompanied by watercress with an aioli dip. The lamb was perfectly prepared. The watercress wasn’t particularly impressive, but the quality of the lamb was such that it didn’t matter. (Note the addition of black truffles.)
The palate cleanser was a honeydew sorbet (for Jim) and a honeydew gelee that contained alcohol (for me).
We substituted the cheese dish for the liliokoi (passionfruit) and vanilla creamsicle, served with an anise coconut froth and macaroon crisp. It was an excellent palate cleanser, and showed a light touch with dessert, something that isn’t always easily accomplished.
The final dessert was a chocolate cremeux with black sesame seed carmelized rice, orange meringue, hazelnet dragées, and butterscotch sauce. The black truffles were perhaps unnecessary here, if, in fact, you can ever contemplate a time when black truffles are superfluous.
Overall, Chef Mavro showed a classical French training, high quality (and mostly local) ingredients, and an ability to adapt to local tastes and ingredients. We were quite impressed and will certainly be back for more! We highly recommend this restaurant and give the meal a solid A.
You can find out more at their website, www.chefmavro.com.