The pictures are a shame, but the food was….ooooh! Oh yes, yes, yes!
Shann and I decided to just “hang out” and “bum around” (after a recent shock that the concept of “summer” no longer exists once we finish school!) late this afternoon. We parted ways five hours later, very very full. It began with a drive to Shann’s home where we indulged in chocolate and almond Haagen Dazs ice cream bars along with a sweet basket of cherries while watching The Mummy Returns on TBS. Oh the lazy days of summer! We had plans to meet up with Sabine later in the evening for a dessert party, and with plenty of time to kill we took a trip down to Ward and poked our heads into all the little boutiques and local restaurants like Brew Moon and Compadres. Nothing particularly interesting, but this lazy afternoon was one of the best days I’ve had in a while.
Dessert was not scheduled until 8pm so we decided there was time for a light dinner. Ha. I’ve recently been experiencing trouble making the concept of “light dinner” and actual “light eating” meet, which explains why we ended up at Jack of the Box. I don’t have fast food cravings often, but when they come, they’re severe! That’ll be a bacon cheeseburger and medium curly fries, please. And yes, I enjoyed them. It tasted good in my mouth and as long as I didn’t think too hard about the crap I was eating, the burger and fries were perfectly satisfying. But not to fear! I have not sucummed to a diet of fast food for there were grand dessert plans in store.
In addition to Alan Wong’s and Chef Mavro’s, 3660 on the Rise falls in the family of Honolulu fine dining. Chef Russell Siu runs the place with partner Gale Ogawa. The used to have an awesome awesome pastry chef & bread pudding master, Lisa Siu, but she recently departed to the Big Island to be with family. The menu is described as “innovative Euro-Island and Grand Desserts; a culinary marriage reflective of East/West heritage and Hawaii’s Seasons.” I’ll leave that for to you to decipher. My visits here are normally reserved for special occassions, but we figured there would be no harm popping in during the later dinner hours for an order of dessert.
(This photo looks good because I didn’t take it. It was nabbed off the restaurant’s site, but this is pretty much free publicity so I hope they don’t mind!)
Shann’s much celebrated warm chocolate souffle cake ($8) was everything this popular dessert was supposed to be. A dark brown dome of warm chocolate cake with an almost liquid, oozing center was keep extra moist and tender with a healthy pour of bitter rich mocha sauce and a darling round of vanilla ice cream. A fortune cookie-like tuile (the photo shows a cut of dark and white chocolate, but that’s not what came with our order) served as a crisp hat shading the simultaneously dark hot and cool treat.
One more for the bread pudding book! Just ignore the blurry photo, for the dessert was iiiiincredible! I ordered this “Pudding on a Whim” ($8), half fearful and half excited. I was worried the new pastry chef would fail to live up to Lisa Siu’s creations. Bread pudding in particular, is much more than just the recipe, it’s like you need the magic hand. To know when the custard is soaked just enough. To feel the proportion of bread and custard, to layer properly…sigh! So much work for a simple dessert! Ay yah, in the end, it’s truly excellent simplicity that’s hardest to accomplish. I don’t know who’s doing the pastries now, but whoever he/she is – I’d even dare to say he/she is doing an even better job than Lisa! Tonight’s flavor was cinnamon spice. It could have been pumpkin, chocolate or blueberry for all I cared cause the texture alone left me in bliss. The notion of pudding on a “whim” is evoked by the deep pastel blue dish and caramel sugar star topped cloud-like flight of pudding. This pudding was like none other. Dreamy and whimsical layers of baguette were showered in cinnamon and a rich bath of warm thick custard. Think just sweetened pudding with the body of soft baked bread and hints of spice. Imagine all that in vanilla bean speckled creme anaglaise, comforting and dreamy. Oh, couldn’t we all just be lulled asleep in a bed of pudding.
Sabine just finished work and have anything before hand so in addition to dessert she ordered the Ahi Katsu ($11.25). A simple dish of nori wrapped ahi were quickly deep fried and served on a bed of wasabi-ginger sauce. To accompany the ahi were a duo of furikake sprinkled sushi rice rolls. Dessert was the Harlequin Creme Brulee ($8), the classic caramelized vanilla bean custard. I suppose what justified the “Harlequin” was the layer of dark chocolate mousse. The smooth rich cream was layered on top of the custard and served as the caramelizing surface. So smooth and creamy, the first tastes were quite fantastic, but I imagine such a dessert with each bite offering the exact same texture with no surpise, could become boring very quickly.
You could imagine we were quite full. Portions were ample and service was both welcoming and efficient. The waiter even gave us the complementary taro rolls even though we didn’t even order entrees. A plus in my books, and extra tips for him. Yay! Everyone benefits :) hehe. This is my favorite way to experience fine dining: piece by piece. Perhaps dessert one night, entree another and a duo of appetizers next time? Just visit during slower off hours and tip well…and try not to stuff yourself with too much junk food before hand…totally not a smart move!
3660 On The Rise
3660 Waialae Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816
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