The age old question is always posed at the end of a meal...15, 18, 20%?? How much do you appreciate the service you got and how much do you tip? As someone who started working in the food industry form the age of 14, service plays a huge part in the dining experience and an even bigger part on the impression you have when you eat out. Its been said time and time again that a place with great service will often entice a patron to come back, but a place with bad service often means you will likely never go back again and will probably tell 10 of your friends about how horrible it was, or post it on Yelp.
With all this said...I have to give props to a restaurant that I had never been to before until earlier this week. I will likely never forget this meal, not necessarily because of the food (there were some hits and some misses) but because of the impeccable service. Arancino at The Kahala is celebrating it's one year anniversary since opening its doors, not to be confused with its more casual sister restaurants located on Beachwalk and at the Waikiki Marriot. They serve classic modern Italian cuisine in a fine dining setting and the moment you walk into the room you feel like you have been whisked away to Italy. The general manager puts the cherry on top because he is literally from Italy and speaks with a charming and comforting Italian accent.
The local staff are well trained, attentive to detail and proceed to perform a lyrical dance of service throughout the night, clearing and presenting plates of food and pouring water and replacing silverware with a special white glove. You even get to chose your own knife and pick your water..flat, sparkling or tap.
I have dined at many restaurants across the world and if you haven't heard already, I worked for one of the best chefs in the world for ten years, so I think I know a thing or two about service. And this experience nestled in the heart of Kahala is one for the books. Always eager to answer questions or offer explanations of items our server that night, Kaulana, was charming and relatable. You would think an experience like this would be stuffy and awkward, but the floor staff make the evening fun, fine and pampering.
Executive Chef Daisuke Hamamoto creates dishes that are called an "epicurean experience" -- using his travels and training to bring a bit of Italy to the door step of travelers from across the globe here to Hawaii. Some new items include Tagliatelle ai Frutti di Mare- a mix of fresh seafood (tiger shrimp & scallop), on house made pasta with lemon, garlic, white wine and truffle oil. Spaghetti alls Carbonara - pasta with a poached egg, crisp pancetta and truffle butter - this has become one of the best pastas I have ever eaten. The crunch from the pancetta and the creamy cheese and sauce with the delicate yolk of the egg make it a divine interpretation of a traditional dish, oh and anything with truffle butter is a standout to me.
In celebration of the one-year anniversary, Arancino at The Kahalo is offering a decadent opportunity A5 Miyazaki Wagyu Beef. If you are not aware of what this beef is all about, try and do some research. The beef is unlike any other you will ever eat. It is flavorful, tender and features very unique marbling of meat that comes from cows who live better lives than some humans out there. Its definitely not your typical night out on the town, but more of a special occasion restaurant. I really enjoyed the atmosphere with live harpist and vines growing on the walls in the open air.
I am told the pizzas are to die for so I will definitely make a point to head over for lunch or a pizza dinner very soon. And of course to enjoy the fantastic service!
Arancino at The Kahala
Dinner 5pm - 9:30pm
Reservations recommended 380-4400