comscore Carval Cafe's red velvet brownie retains cake's moistness | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Carval Cafe’s red velvet brownie retains cake’s moistness

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Read any menu these days and dishes tend to read like a recipe with a literal laundry list of ingredients. I miss the days when dishes were more evocative, with names like Beef Wellington signaling English style; Margherita pizza in the colors of the Italian flag (red tomatoes, white mozzarella, green basil) to commemorate a visit to Naples by Queen Margarita in 1889; or Oysters Rockefeller, deemed the richest dish in the world in 1899 and named after John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in the world at that time.

Then there’s the red velvet cake, evoking the plush, rich dense fabric with its deep maroon color.

The 1800s Southern invention has enjoyed a resurgence ever since contemporary cupcake bakers picked up on the charm of the cocoa-filled cake topped with cream cheese frosting.

At Carval Cafe — known for its tender slow-braised short ribs and pepper fried chicken — the dessert is available in brownie form (two for $2), topped with a squiggle of cream cheese frosting.

Although I liked the name of the cake, I’ve always found it dry and bland without the frosting. But in brownie form at the hands of Jill Yamashita, it is truly as moist, dense and satisfying as its name implies. Yamashita studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Oregon, then worked at the Grand Wailea Maui and Roy’s before settling in at parents Val and Carl Hamada’s cafe. She also offers red velvet bread pudding.

Carval Cafe is at Restaurant Row, 500 Ala Moana Blvd. Call 534-7007.


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