Transport Yourself To An Edible Island Escape at Tokyo Marriott Hotel
Waikoloa six-course dinner
SPECIAL PROMOTION — This summer, Hawaii’s own Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa brings the “Aloha Spirit” and Big Island experience to the Tokyo Marriott Hotel. With temperatures already topping 30 degrees Celsius, those seeking a much-needed (and well-deserved) escape — while indulging in a little cooling off — should look no further than this fine dining adventure that pays homage to the paradise archipelago’s vibrant culinary heritage.
What if you could experience a culinary Hawaiian getaway without leaving the heart of Tokyo? This summer, you can do just that at the Tokyo Marriott Hotel’s six-course Big Island dinner experience.
Priding itself on “urban comfort,” the Lounge & Dining G grill situated within the Tokyo Marriott Hotel is casually stylish and a surprisingly suitable backdrop for an island-style six-course feast. Thanks to visiting executive chef Jayson Kanekoa, a native of Kukuihaele and the culinary mastermind behind the Waikoloa Dinner, Tokyoites can savor leisurely, laid-back dishes — like oven-roasted kalua pig and poke made with the freshest cuts of Tsukiji Market fish — with a new level of sophistication and contemporary flair.
Before commencing the edible island escape, chef Kanekoa explained the concept behind the menu planned for the evening escapade: “Each dish will feature a Hawaiian twist with a focus on farm-to-table freshness — think clean plates that showcase simple but robust flavors.” With a firm philosophy on sourcing fresh ingredients from local farmers, Kanekoa follows through on his culinary commitment in Tokyo by providing restaurant-goers with an “urban luau” that fuses sustainable dining practices with farm-fresh flavors.
Japan’s sweltering summer brings forth a bounty of seasonal produce that mirrors the year-round harvest of heat-loving salad greens in Hawaii’s tropical climate — not to mention tomatoes, peppers and other sun-seeking vegetables — that are at their peak this season. The first dish, a crisp, golden crab cake, immediately set the mood for the simple yet flavor-packed six-course meal. The succulent crab cake contained pieces of plump shrimp and was topped with an unmistakable Hawaiian twist—a tangy pineapple-avocado relish. The juicy bits of pineapple — one of the best-known symbols of the Aloha State — combined with the creamy avocado made for an incredibly light and stimulating first course.
Next came the kalua pig spring roll, an ideally portioned take on a luau staple — without the underground roasting pit. This traditionally slow-cooked, whole roasted pork rubbed with alaea sea salt and wrapped in banana leaves, is given some Filipino flair. Using a time-honored recipe passed down from Polynesian ancestors, chef Kanekoa creates a shredded kalua pork version of lumpia (savory Filipino spring rolls) refreshingly paired with a sweet chili-mint dipping sauce.
The tomato and crab bisque that followed the crisp, bite-sized spring rolls combines sun-ripened tomatoes with a creamy stock made from roasted crab shells. It takes just one spoonful of this bright and bold soup for your taste buds to surrender to the intense depth of flavor extracted from kani miso (a Japanese delicacy that literally translates to “crab brain”) and the summer fruit showcased in its sweet, acidic and juicy glory.
The fourth course, the roasted garlic poke, was the indisputable star of the Waikoloa Dinner. If you’re in any way familiar with chef Kanekoa, a three-time grand champion of various poke competitions, this is to be expected. Although this cubed fish salad — occasionally coined the Hawaiian crudo or ceviche — is traditionally prepared with jewel-toned ahi tuna, chef Kanekoa opts for an equally gleaming, pink-hued hamachi. The natural flavors of the tender, oily fish were accentuated with a touch of soy sauce and sesame oil, while the texture had an unexpected crunch coming from bite-sized bubu arare crackers (crispy, puffed rice pellets).
The Waikoloa Dinner offers guests a choice of three tempting entrées, but I went with the chef’s recommendation: Pork ribs with guava barbecue rub. Although I’m admittedly a “fish person” and an avid seafood lover, the fall-off-the-bone, finger-licking-good ribs smothered in sweet guava would make any grilled lover stop in their tracks. In fact, by the end of my fifth course, I was fairly convinced that I had indeed been transported out of Tokyo to an island paradise “staycation.” Time slipped ever more slowly with each sip of champagne and tropical cocktail savored throughout the evening.
The evening’s excitement crescendoed with two Polynesian dance spectacles that captured the room’s attention with its hypnotizing, hip swaying undulations. And to top off dinner, a delicate but decadently rich and crustless coconut crème brûlée was simply one final taste of paradise.
Not everyone can jet set to the dreamy islands of Hawaii on a whim, but we can all make a temporary getaway to the Waikoloa Dinner at the Tokyo Marriott Hotel — a refined, homestyle Big Island experience that just may have you putting the vacation autoresponder on your email account. In the meantime: E ‘ai kakou! (“Let’s eat!”).
Waikoloa six-course dinner at Tokyo Marriott Hotel Lounge & Dining G (¥8,500 per person)
Address: 4-7-36 Kitashinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 〒140-0001
Open: Daily, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. from July 15 to August 31 (Polynesian dance performances on Fridays only at 7:30 and 9 p.m, except July 29 and August 12)
SPECIAL PROMOTION — What if you could experience a culinary Hawaiian getaway without leaving the heart of Tokyo? This summer, you can do just that at the Tokyo Marriott Hotel's six-course Big Island dinner experience.