The Chef’s Table Beckons With Civilized ‘Old World’ Charm
By Kevin McQurrie, Oahu Island
“fall” days outside have been hot, sunny and steamy. But step into The
Chef’s Table, a restaurant in the Hawaii Kai Towne shopping center, and
you’ll swear you have been airlifted into an autumn evening in Austria.
Tiny pumpkins sit on each table, and the bread stays warm over a
candle-heater. The lighting is low, and the music, Classical. At the
window, lace curtains make you feel like you are in a grandmother’s
care. Care is the operative word at this establishment, run and owned by
Andreas and Kathleen Knapp.
restaurant seemed full of regulars—always a sign of good things to come.
“Why do I always look at the menu? I know exactly what I want,” sighed
one woman as she cozied into her chair and ordered her favorite dish.
soup is a real specialty of mittel European cuisine, I started off my meal
with the Roasted Onion Beer Soup ($4.75) glazed with smoked cheese. It
arrived in a tureen fresh out of the oven, with the cheese gooey, the
bread immersed, but not soggy, and copious amounts of rich, soft, cooked
onion. It’s the kind of soup that seems so nourishing you think it might
actually cure cancer. We also tried the Garlic Steamed Clams ($9). I
couldn’t decide which to do first: dunk my roll into the excellent
butter, wine and herb broth or dive into the tender, large clams.
also couldn’t resist an order of the potato pancakes ($9 for four). They
arrived looking dark, almost burned, yet they were perfect. Crispy, not
greasy, and huge. Try them with sour cream, applesauce, or hell—carpe
diem—ask for both.
our entrées, the Trout Fillet ($18) was expertly prepared: crisp on the
outside and light and flaky on the inside. The bed of mushrooms and green
peppercorns under it was a perfect complement. My dining companion ordered
the Sauerbraten ($20), a marinated beef brisket that comes with
vegetables, red cabbage and spetzli (tiny dumplings). It was fall off the
the menu doesn’t seem inexpensive, in reality, the food here is a steal.
First, the quality and preparation are on par with far fancier
establishments. Second, the portions are so huge that you will almost
certainly get two meals out of whatever you order. For example, my trout
arrived as two large pieces, each easily a hearty dinner in itself, served
alongside an excellent sweet and sour cabbage, a heap of vegetables, and,
as if you could still be eating, Austrian-style potatoes.
also a very good wine list; it’s not long, it is just well-chosen, with
a nice selection of German and Austrian wines, as well as some other wine
regions, such as South Africa. And the service was excellent; attentive,
but never pesky.
there are plenty of seafood dishes, and a wide variety of salads, it’s
not exactly a vegetarian’s paradise. The menu focuses—and rightly,
this being an Austrian restaurant—on ingredients such as duckling, ham
hocks and beef.
managed to save enough room to sample a dessert of (house-baked)
Apfelstrudel. Studded with raisins and adorned with two towers of whipped
cream, this one’s worth coming back for.
As we reluctantly pushed back and were
paying our bill (about $100 for two, including tip), a cuckoo clock on the
wall above us rang. That this restaurant would have a classic cuckoo clock
just seemed so pitch-perfect: authentic, thoughtful and homespun. That
pretty much sums up The Chef’s Table.
The Chef’s Table
Keahole St. (In the Hawaii Kai Towne Center, near Costco.) Reservations
served Tuesday to
"Please mention the Oahu Island News to your server."