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Where mom wants to dine

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Chef Chai

Chef Chai

Chef Chai is the perfect place to treat your mom to an epic Mother’s Day meal she won’t soon forget.

On Mother’s Day weekend, some of Hawaii’s luckiest moms will enjoy a spectacular all-you-can-eat feast at Chef Chai.

If you’re fortunate enough to be one of those moms, you might want to devise a game plan. Eat sparsely a few days before your reservation. Step up your workout in anticipation. Study the menu carefully. And consider a few strategic tips from celebrity chef Chai Chaowasaree himself.

Will you begin your feast with a bottomless Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail?

“They’re like baby lobsters,” says Chef Chai, iconic owner of the restaurant, as he offers suggestions for hungry fathers (and their families). “The prawns are already peeled and cleaned so you can just eat them.” What a delicious opening play!

Chef Chai

Fresh Oysters On Ice with Spicy Lemon Grass Garlic Mignonette photo courtesy of A. Consillio

Or perhaps you’d like to start with a big platter of Fresh Oysters On Ice with Spicy Lemon Grass Garlic Mignonette? The gorgeous Kumamoto oysters are usually $3 apiece, but at Chef Chai’s Mother’s Day Buffet, you can fill your plate to your heart’s content. “This one’s for the oyster lovers. I see them take a dozen at a time!” he says, chuckling at the image.

Chef Chai

Mongolian Style Lamb Chops with Brandy Demi- photo courtesy of Chef Chai

You could skip the surf and go straight for the turf: Mongolian Style Lamb Chops with Brandy Demi-glace. “They’re marinated with hoisin, sesame sauce and brandy, which makes them tender and juicy, and they’re served with a merlot demi-glace,” says the chef. The usual cost for a pair of these succulent chops is $46, but on Mother’s Day, why stop at just two?

Chef Chai’s twice-annual buffet is an undisputed winner, and it’s become a beloved tradition in some families. A full 40 percent of the guests who came for Mother’s Day last year also made reservations to return for Father’s Day, the chef says. There’s not a single “filler” dish among the offerings, he adds. “Every dish could be an entree by itself. There’s something for everyone.”

The Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs with Kabocha Pumpkins, for example, seem designed to please both the youngest and most sophisticated palates. “Most restaurants will just braise with a mirepoix, but we add five spice for an Asian twist on this classic,” says Chef Chai.

If you’re still thinking about the eatery’s unbeatable seafood, try Miso Seabass with Kabayaki Sauce and Miso Cream. “This is a very special fish,” he confides. “The skin caramelizes thanks to the sugar in the miso, and it’s moist and tender inside.” Normally this dish is priced at $40 for an 8-ounce fillet. But it’s Mother’s Day! Go ahead, have another helping.

Chef Chai

Chocolate Marble Cheese Cake Cups with Fresh Raspberry, Waialua Chocolate Crunch Bar, Peanut Butter Opera Cakes with Chocolate Ganache, and Pistachio French Macarons. photo courtesy of Chef Chai

Finally, every successful dining strategy should end with a sweet celebration. Desserts will include delectable treats like Chocolate Marble Cheesecake Cups with Fresh Raspberry, Waialua Chocolate Crunch Bars, Peanut Butter Opera Cakes, and French Macarons, plus a variety of fresh fruits.

The price for Chef Chai’s all-you-can-eat Mother’s Day buffet is $79 (half-price for children 12 and under). Dinner seatings on Saturday and Sunday evenings are at 4:30 and 7 p.m.; seatings for Sunday brunch are from 9 to 9:30 a.m. and again at noon.

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