comscore Restaurant Week makes great meals affordable | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Crave | Cravings

Restaurant Week makes great meals affordable

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A Tenkeiko, center, towers over a regular shiitake. To the right are slices of dried Tenkeiko.

How’d you like to try Alan Wong’s “Cioppino” in a Bag — North Shore Aqua Farm tilapia, shrimp and clams — followed by “Spicy Beef Curry” New York Strip Medallion, with cardamom butter and coconut “snow”? What about an 8-ounce filet mignon and Maine lobster tail with Okinawan sweet potatoes at Stripsteak Waikiki, renowned chef Michael Mina’s restaurant that just came to town?

A visit to such restaurants might normally be the rarest of treats, but these dishes are well within reach during Restaurant Week Hawaii, the breakout week for foodies on a budget — when more than 60 top Oahu restaurants present menus at special prices. This year it starts Monday and runs through Nov. 20.

Everybody wins during Restaurant Week Hawaii: Beyond benefiting diners’ pocketbooks, the week also invigorates Honolulu’s restaurant scene and raises money for culinary education in Hawaii.

The beneficiary of some of the week’s proceeds is the upcoming Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head, which will provide a four-year advanced culinary program to students from across Hawaii and abroad.

Restaurant Week Hawaii is in its ninth year. Find a lineup of participating restaurants, and see some of their special menus, at restaurantweekhawaii.com.

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Joleen Oshiro, Star-Advertiser

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Gigantic mushroom makes debut

A new type of mushroom — branded Tenkeiko in Japan — is a type of shiitake that dwarfs its progenitor and has three times the umami of the original.

Local distributor Armstrong Produce is gauging commercial and consumer interest in the upscale mushroom, said Letitia Uyehara, director of marketing.

A Tenkeiko must be at least 2.8 inches in diameter and it’s not unusual to find them at 5 inches or more, Japanese industry officials said in a presentation at Armstrong’s Mapunapuna facility last week. Only 30 percent of the species grow this large.

Among local chefs who tested samples was Jon Matsubara of Forty Carrots in Bloomingdale’s. He said the Tenkeiko, when roasted, reminds him of abalone or clam. He and his team used it in chawanmushi, or Japanese flan, made with lobster and clam, served in a Tenkeiko cap. They also used a scooped-out abalone shell to make a dish with mushroom confit as the star and abalone meat as a topping, “sort of an optical illusion,” Matsubara said.

Already available in New York, a tray of two or three retails for $17, but it would likely cost more in Hawaii, Uyehara said.

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Erika Engle, Star-Advertiser

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