A Long-Time Favorite: Chef Mavro (Honolulu)

It has been a while since I last posted photos of a dinner at Chef Mavro, one of our favorite restaurants. The restaurant has redone its menu a bit, allowing guests to choose from a selection of small plates or to embark on a 9 course Bataan death march of a tasting menu. We’ve done the tasting menu before—it’s fabulous and not to be missed!—but wanted to focus on our most recent meal, where we selected from the small plates.
We started with a foie gras parfait that included hibiscus, asian pear, yuzu, and malasadas. (Actually, we started with two of them because our party of four included a 16 year old velociraptor.) Our family loves foie gras, and this version was one of the best we’ve ever had. The inclusion of the citrus/sweet flavors set off the richness of the foie gras perfectly.

foie gras parfait

Next up was the ahi poke, served with ogo, chives, Aleppo pepper, and taro crisps. Poke has become the “in” thing these days with poke restaurants popping up everywhere from California to DC, but it is originally a Hawaiian dish (hopefully, the New York Times food writers will not “discover” it the way they discovered bubble tea, as a New York invention). The taro crisps were light and fresh, and the poke with the sauce had a lovely rich taste to it.

ahi poke

The third course was the egg “poutargue” with an egg, Yukon potato, San Danielle prosciutto, and sun-dried fish roe. The saltiness of the prosciutto gave the dish a nice flavor to go with the egg and fish roe. Yum!

egg poutargue

To our shock, our velociraptor asked for the keahole lobster (liking lobster is a recent thing for him). The lobster was served with kale, ginger, okra, and soursop. While excellent (because everything here is excellent), it was probably the weakest of the dishes.

keahole lobster

The next dish was the island free range chicken, served with a tarragon mousse, island cream corn, Swiss chard, and foie gras jus. Chef Mavro used to do a chicken multi-course dinner that Jim and I still talk about. This is a microcosm of that dinner and delectable. I am generally not a fan of white meat because it is more often than not dry and flavorless. This, however, was neither, and if more people could serve chicken like this, I would no longer be a white meat hater. Enough said.

island free range chicken

The final entree dish was a Miyazaki wagyu fricassee with chimichurri, breadfruit, warabi, and mustard seeds. You have to be a ham-handed chef to ruin wagyu, and there are no ham-handed chefs here. On the other hand, you have to be a gifted chef to make the most out of the wagyu and that certainly was the case here. The meat was perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful, and the accompanying ingredients provided additional flavor and texture.

miyazaki wagyu fricassee

Dessert was a citrus dessert—light, flavorful, and a perfect end to the dinner—and a chocolate dessert—rich, bold, and also a perfect end to the dinner.

citrus dessert

chocolate dessert

We have fond memories of Chef Mavro over the years, and each meal has been delicious and memorable. We look forward to many more years of dining there!
www.chefmavro.com

Chef Mavro (Honolulu)

Chef Mavro is the one restaurant through the years that we always ensure we visit when we are in Honolulu.  February is the tail end of black truffle season, and we were fortunate enough to ride the coattails of one of our favorite ingredients.  The restaurant is currently offering a four course chicken dinner option, and we immediately opted to try it, as this option is not always on the menu.

The first course was the meli-melo salad, served with Hamakua maitake mushrooms, seasonal vegetables, pan-fried panisse, and a roasted beet pepper vinaigrette.  There is no one who can make vegetables and raw ones, at that (I know, my Asian heritage is coming through) interesting like Chef Mavro.  The salad was delicious (for a salad).  🙂

The second course is one I have dreams about.  It is the Truffled Egg “Osmose” and is an egg served on a bed of potato mousseline with pickled shallots, prosciutto ribbons, and most importantly, black truffles!  The egg itself has been infused with black truffle flavor, and it is one of the most delectable dishes ever!

Next up was a truffled ballotine of thigh meat on frisee salad.  I am a dark meat person, and having dark meat chicken with black truffles is an absolutely fabulous treat.

The main course is a whole chicken, carved tableside by the chef, served with garlic creamed corn and an au jus sauce with black truffles.  It comes with a side of caper-olive oil mashed potatoes.  Yum, yum, yum.

mashed potatoes

And, finally, dessert was roasted pineapple served over a light yuzu crumble and a scoop of bay leaf ice cream.

Oh, and let’s not forget the after-dinner treats of green matcha chocolate squares and passionfruit pate de fruits (I must learn how to make these).

All in all, another amazing meal from a fabulous restaurant!

Chef Mavro is located at 1959 S. King Street, Honolulu, HI (www.chefmavro.com)

Restaurant review: Chef Mavro (Honolulu)

Chef Mavro is one of our favorite restaurants in Honolulu. While some of our other favorites have gifted chefs who serve excellent food, Chef Mavro has both those requirements, and the dishes are always beautifully presented. We try and go twice on every trip and alternate between the 6 course menu and the 4 course menu.
This is the four course menu, where the serving portions are a bit larger than the 6 course menu, and it is every bit as delicious.

We started with the amuse-bouche: white bean mousse with duck confit rillettes. We could have cheerfully made a meal out of the rillettes.

IMG_3467

amuse-bouche

All of us opted out of the squid course and substituted it with black truffle risotto. Black truffles. Risotto. In the hand of a master. Need I say more?

IMG_3468

black truffle risotto

The next course was onaga in fisherman’s bouillabaisse marseilles-style, with rouille & croutons. The “crouton,” served with a spicy garlic aioli, was completely scrumptions.

onaga bouillabaisse style

onaga bouillabaisse style

The meat course was herb crusted niman rack of lamb, served with tomato, zucchini, eggplant & bell pepper à la monégasque.

lamb

lamb

It was accompanied by a side dish of extra virgin olive oil caper mashed potato. I don’t particularly like mashed potato (it’s a texture thing), but this was scrumptious.

mashed potatoes

mashed potatoes

The palate cleanser was a watermelon-champagne gelée.

IMG_3472

And, finally, the dessert course. A peach flambé, with peach, lemon chiboust brulée & sablé, and a blueberry compote accompanied by crème fraiche with a pernod accent and fennel pollen. It was a perfect finish to a lovely dinner!

peach flambe

peach flambe

Restaurant review: Chef Mavro, Take 2 (Honolulu)

For our second dinner at Chef Mavro, we went with the 4 course menu and added the parmesan black truffle risotto as a fifth course (yes, we do indeed live to eat).

The amouse bouche was once again the delicious watercress soup with “egg salad sandwich.”

watercress soup with "egg salad sandwich"

watercress soup with “egg salad sandwich”

We started off with the meli-melo, a salad containing hearts of palm, pickled hibiscus, avocado purée, and baby beets. I’m not a huge salad fan (I’m of the same philosophy as Ron Swanson, the character from “Parks and Rec” who says, “Salads are the food my food eats.”), but this was delicious.

meli melo

meli melo

We then had the snapper, served Asian style, with shitake mushrooms and ginger, topped with fried cilantro and green onion on basmati rice. While I liked the opah from the 6 course menu, this was fabulous (and better).

snapper

snapper

Our next course was the parmesan black truffle risotto, which was just as good as the first time we had it.

black truffle risotto

black truffle risotto

The entrée dish was duckling served with fennel and winter citrus and star anise duck jus. It was really wonderful.

duckling

duckling

confit

confit

(Jim substituted his duck for the lamb loin, served with cranberry preserve and sunchokes.) The bite I had was excellent.

lamb

lamb

And, after the palate cleansing melon in champagne gelée, we had the coconut déclinaison, which was a coconut pound cake served with coconut-shiso sorbet and a coconut sauce with basil seeds. This may not sound like it would work, but it most certainly did.

coconut déclinaison

coconut déclinaison

What we like about Chef Mavro is that not only is the food delicious, it is also beautifully presented. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the chef himself will make the rounds in the evening to chat. They were amazingly wonderful meals!

Chef Mavro is at 1969 S. King St, Honolulu (www.chefmavro.com).

Restaurant review: Chef Mavro (Honolulu)

We have been regular diners at Chef Mavro whenever we are in Honolulu (which is more often than I am willing to admit). Last week, when we were there, we took the opportunity to dine at Chef Mavro twice. (I know, I know.)

The first time, we picked the 6 course menu. In addition, it was BLACK TRUFFLE season (calloo, callay!). So, this is what we had:

The amouse bouche was watercress soup with an “egg salad sandwich” on the side. It’s difficult to get watercress flavoring in a soup strong enough to taste like watercress, but this was the exception. It was delicious!

watercress soup with an "egg salad sandwich"

watercress soup with an “egg salad sandwich”

We started off with the foie gras, which was served as a parfait, accompanied by pineapple relish, toasted pine nuts, and a huge side of toasted brioche. Yummy!

foie gras terrine

foie gras terrine

Next up was the opah (snapper), which was served with red beets, pickled Japanese cucumber and topped with a coffee flour rye bread crumble. Highly delectable.

snapper

snapper

The lobster was next. This was accompanied by a house-made kabocha confit and served with kabocha and a crustacean essence purée. It’s one of Jim’s favorite dishes here.

lobster

lobster

We substituted out the cheese course in favor of the parmesan black truffle risotto. It was everything a black truffle risotto dish should be (which is to say heavenly).

black truffle risotto

black truffle risotto

We also upgraded to the Australian Tajima wagyu medallions, served with an eggplant purée, charred leeks, and an island green pepper corn sauce. Yum, yum, yum.

wagyu

wagyu

The palate cleanser was melon served in a champagne gelée.

melon in champagne gelee

melon in champagne gelee

And the final course, dessert, was chocolate. This time, it was a chocolate bar, served with a burgundy poached pear and sorbet. Even for not being a huge chocolate fan, this was delicious.

chocolate dessert

chocolate dessert

Chef Mavro (Honolulu)

We had one of our favorite meals when we were in Honolulu at Chef Mavro. This is the second excellent meal we’ve had there (Jim and I were there in February and had an amazing meal then as well, which is, of course, documented on the blog).

We chose a modified summer menu, knowing that the full summer menu would be too much food and knowing that the kids were likely not to be enamored with the abalone and cheese courses. (Not having the cheese course didn’t exactly break my heart either.)

We started with an amuse bouche of chilled baby carrot soup, flavored with orange. The 12 year old boy wasn’t thrilled by this, as he’s not a fan of cold soups, but the rest of us slurped his portion down without a problem. The soup was delicately flavored, and the orange added a touch of sweetness and zing to the soup.

Carrot soup

Carrot soup

Foie gras was next on the menu, and it was served three ways: “au naturel” with pickled mango; seared with li hing mui mango tatin; and bavarois, with mango kanten. There was one vote for “au naturel,” two votes for the seared foie gras, and one vote for the bavarois. Even Jim, who doesn’t like mango, loved this dish.

foie gras 3 ways

foie gras 3 ways

The third course was lobster served with a chorizo taro dumpling, upcountry vegetables, and sautéed in tamarind-tapioca jus. The lobster was excellent, without the watery squishy texture you sometimes get, and it was cooked just right, so that it was tender and flavorful.

lobster

lobster

upcountry vegetables

upcountry vegetables

Duck was next on the menu. It was served with fried Bhutanese rice with black garlic, duck leg bacon, baby carrots, string beans, fennel, and star anise duck jus. I love duck and have high expectations about a duck dish, and this was prepared perfectly, so it was tender and flavorful.

duck

duck

fried bhutanese rice with black garlic

fried bhutanese rice with black garlic

The last meat dish was wagyu beef medallions, served with agave crisped Brussels sprouts, prosciutto, celery root mousse, and essence of pinot noir. There is no more flavorful and tender beef than Kobe beef from Japan, but wagyu beef is a close second, and these beef medallions were melt-in-your-mouth tender.

wagyu beef

wagyu beef

Our pre-dessert was watermelon in champagne gelée (and watermelon sorbet for the one allergic to alcohol). It was a lovely palate cleanser and light prelude to the dessert.

watermelon in champagne gelee

watermelon in champagne gelee

watermelon sorbet

watermelon sorbet

And the actual dessert consisted of chocolate: acai and Waialua chocolate cremeux, tuile crisp and buttermilk sorbet.

chocolate dessert

chocolate dessert

All in all, it was a fabulous meal that ensured our returning when we next visit Honolulu.

Chef Mavro is located at 1969 S. King Street in Honolulu (www.chefmavro.com).

 

Chef Mavro

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.

amuse-bouche (hamachi)

amuse-bouche (hamachi)

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.

truffled egg

truffled egg

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)

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)

lobster (with black truffles)

accompaniment to the lobster

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.)

lamb loin

lamb loin

The palate cleanser was a honeydew sorbet (for Jim) and a honeydew gelee that contained alcohol (for me).

honeydew sorbet

honeydew sorbet

honeydew gelee

honeydew gelee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

creamsicle

creamsicle

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.

chocolate cremeux

chocolate cremeux

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.