Small Plates, Big Flavors

Hiroshi takes Tapas to a whole new level

 

 

By Kevin McQuarrie

Oahu Island News

 

At L’Uraku restaurant, Chef Hiroshi Fukui gained a world-class reputation as a master of fusion cuisine, blending the flavors of Japanese dishes with the techniques of European cooking. He’s since left L’Uraku, and has partnered with D.K. Kodama, of Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar and Vino fame, for a new restaurant.

Called Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas (the spelling of Eurasion, as opposed to Eurasian, is a nod to the idea of fusion), the restaurant is in the space formerly occupied by Sansei, which has relocated to Waikiki. It sounds a bit like a game of musical chairs, with all the restaurant and chef shuffling, but you will be surprised how much the interior of the former Sansei has been transformed.

Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas features cool, minty shades and far more light than its predecessor. The cramped, are-we-in-Key-West bar has been opened up and calmed down. Elegant wine storage displays are a nod to the restaurant’s commitment to wine and food pairings. The open kitchen has been closed off, replaced by a wall with a gauzy sari fabric hanging. Vibrant art lines the walls.

The wine list at Hiroshi is extensive, and very well-chosen. Our server, Katie, recommends we order a flight of wines, so we start there with a trio of whites and a trio of Pinot Noir (both $8.95 for three 2-ounce pours). Instead of bread, we are brought a dish of house-made rice crackers—warm and salty and perfect for dipping into the wasabi aioli accompaniment.

Hiroshi is tapas-style—and we’re using that term pretty loosely, granted. You won’t find Spanish bar snacks, but you will experience small plates, meant to be shared. The menu is divided into three sections, moving in size of plate and substance from “To Start,” “In Between,” and “To Complete.” (There is also a “To Indulge” menu, offered, appropriately enough, at dessert time.)

One of the pleasant surprises of the evening was how moderate the prices are at Hiroshi. It’s truly upscale food and excellent service, yet still affordable. The most expensive “To Complete” plate is the Pan Roasted Filet Mignon, and that’s only $21.95; most of the dishes on the menu fall in the $6.95 to $15.95 range. That said, if you have a hearty appetite, you’ll need to order a lot of dishes—and they are indeed smaller portions than most Americans are used to. (We ordered one “To Start,” three “In Between” and two “To Complete” and it fed two adults fine.)

We started our meal with the Duo of Contemporary Sushi ($9.95), a sweet, miso-glazed salmon and a ginger-scallion ahi, and an order of Seared Sea Scallops ($9.95). Both were delicious. The Softshell Crab “Ooze” ($7.75) really needs to be renamed, but was excellent. One of the highlights of the meal was the next dish, a Sizzlin’ Moi Carpaccio ($9.95) served with truffled Nalo microgreens. Well, I say “highlights,” but then the Miso Yaki Butter Fish ($15.95) and Crab-Stuffed Kona Cold Lobster Tail ($14.75) were just as good. It’s hard to pick, really, which dish excels, as they were all pretty much perfect.

Dessert was a bit less stunning. We split an order of the Green Tea Crème Brulee ($6.50), which was OK, but to me, more like a pudding. Next time I’ll have to try the Flourless Chocolate Cake or Hawaiian Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta.

And there will definitely be a next time—only, we’ll bring a bigger group, so that we’ll have an excuse to order more dishes and sample more of this great food.

 

Hiroshi EURASION TAPAS

Located at Restaurant Row,

500 Ala Moana Boulevard

Ph: 533-4476. Validated parking.

Open daily; doors open at 6 p.m.