Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mariposa at Ala Moana

Eating at the Mariposa in Neiman Marcus at the Ala Moana is always a treat. The view is spectacular, the service a perfect hybrid of slightly more formal than casual yet slightly less fussy than ubiquitous, if that's at all possible. We always eat at the bar, which I think engenders more interesting service anyway.

The kitchen at Mariposa always starts you out with a gigantic fluffy and delicious Yorkshire Pudding, this time with a little red bell pepper butter.

Because we always eat at the bar, I am not sure if diners at the tables are treated to this consistently delicious amuse-bouche, but I have been every time. It is a demi-tasse of rich chicken broth. Strongly flavored of chicken bone goodness, yet rich enough that I am sure there are heavy amounts of butter involved. Don't think about it, just sip it and enjoy.

This trip, D started with the corn chowder, another rich a delicious soup, with croutons and paprika (and 2 spoons, natch).

For a main course, we both lunched on the giant crab salad with local micro-greens and butter lettuce harvested from the Big Island.

We managed to peacefully share what the chef called portobello fries with housemade ketchup and truffle aoili. We were perplexed as to why they were called portobello, and tasted each one in an attempt to deduce some mushroomy flavoring. But in the end we were too full and lazy to be bothered to ask why. Or care.

Using as much local and island grown produce as possible is a restaurant trend that has become a norm. This was evident and clearly communicated every single day this week. There was talk about it on the local news program, articles about it in local and tourist magazines and newspapers, and I heard waiters and staff speak of this at nearly every restaurant I ate in, from the high brow to the low end. It was wonderful to be able to feast on Maui tomatoes ripened on the vine in the midst of a mainland national tomato recall.

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