NS, FS, hubby and I went to Chef Chai for Restaurant Week 2013. None of us had eaten at Chef Chai’s although we pass it regularly.
The restaurant has a very modern and contemporary feeling but it is not cold.
All of us ordered the Restaurant Week set menu ($50). We started with the chicken tenderloin sate with Thai peanut sauce, flat bread, and a cucumber salad similar to namasu. I enjoyed the peanut sauce. I ate it with the sate and the pita bread. Yummy.
Then came the appetizer sample which consisted of salmon roulade with cream cheese and crab meat, sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese won tons, ahi tartar in a waffle cone, and a smoked duck breast taco with a mango salsa. Since hubby has a dairy allergy, I gave him my duck taco and I ate his salmon roulade and goat cheese won tons so I didn’t try the taco. NS, FS, and hubby all said that the duck taco was the best thing they ate at Chef Chai. Since I didn’t have a chance to eat the duck taco I would like to go back to at least try it.
Our next course was the Kataifi Prawn and Baby Greens with a Tangerine Vinaigrette. It was light and very good. Chef Chai is famous for his Kataifi Prawn. I used to eat them at Chai’s, his former restaurant at Aloha Tower Marketplace.
I ordered the Petite Tenderloin and hubby ordered the Grilled Salmon. The tenderloin was very tender and could be cut with a butter knife. The presentation was great, a tower of mashed tomatoes, the tenderloin, and a mushroom foie gras truffle puff. I especially enjoyed the puff pastry. Hubby ate everything on his plate and said that the salmon was very good.
Dessert was a white chocolate truffle (filled with vanilla ice-cream and a sorbet) in a form of a heart with a lot of raspberry guava puree. The vanilla ice cream went nicely with the puree.
The food at Chef Chai is very good but it is not inexpensive. They have a happy hour that starts at 9 p.m. and an early bird special for $40 which is only available in the patio and before 6 p.m. Items are similar to the Restaurant Week Menu except the entrees are the Grilled Salmon and Pork Osso Bucco and the appetizer sampler does not include the duck tacos.
Hubby said he would go back to Chef Chai which means I’ll be able to try the duck tacos ($13).
Chef Chai is one of the original Hawaii Regional Chefs. His food has been consistently good. Regular entrees range from $19 – $39. Service is attentive and quick.
Chef Chai is located at 1009 Kapiolani Boulevard. Call (808) 585-0011 for reservations. Parking is either valet ($5 + tip), on the street or at the Neal Blaisdell Center. Note that Doraku’s parking is $3. Chef Chai’s parking used to be $3.
Try it. I think you might like it.