Archive for September, 2009

Wine Bar Brasserie du Vin – Honolulu

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Brasserie du Vin, Honolulu (photo credit: Brasserie du Vin)

Brasserie du Vin, Honolulu
1115 Bethel St.
Credit Cards: Yes
Prices: Moderate

A French-style wine bar in the interesting, if not ideally located, Chinatown district of downtown Honolulu. You have the option to choose from a selection of 25 open wines by the glass and taste classic bistro dishes such as frisée aux lardons, escargots, and moules frites (these mussels are from New Zealand and can be quite “tough”). I would avoid any complex cooking here, and stick to wine bar fare such as: charcuterie, cheese, olives with bread and other light selections. For 30% of the bottle cost they will open any bottle from their wine list and pour a 6 oz. glass, which is really not bad as this is approximately 170 grams of wine per glass.

It is definitely a congenial place with an outdoor patio, dining room and bar. It could not be farther removed from Paris in every possible way; albeit you can still see a glimmer.

A Bizarre Evening at “Le Petit Laugier” – Paris

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

l' Entredgeu, Paris

l’Entredgeu (formerly Le Petit Laugier)
83 rue Laugier
75017, Paris

This little bistro l’Entredgeu replaced “1880” and has taken the same location of a bistro that I dined at a few years ago where I experienced a very unusual evening.

We were just beginning to eat the amazingly sublime chicken liver salad, one of the dishes this small bistro, Le Petit Laugier was known for. I lifted the first forkful of the warm, pink, and peppery liver that was a perfect contrast to the crisp and cool, bitter and vinegary greens. At the same time, a couple was struggling to leave the long, crowded table next to us, which was difficult from their position in the middle of the banquette. Somewhat trapped standing halfway out and halfway in an attractive women with long brown hair was being playfully groped by another woman who would not let her pass. She was protesting slightly and laughingly crying out, “rape, rape.” At this point the other woman became more aggressive and put her hand under her skirt, she struggled free and started to kiss and pet her long-haired lap dog, cuddled in the arms of the man accompanying her. The other women, in a final gesture, lifted her own skirt and exposed her frontal area; she was not wearing anything underneath! I had no idea what was going on, it was totally unexpected, as I had not been briefed about what went on here. I asked my dining companion, an old roué and longtime resident in Paris (of course, it was his suggestion that we dine here in the first place) “What goes on in this crazy place”.  He explained to me, “Sunday nights are special nights with a special crowd. On other evenings during the week, it becomes just another quiet neighborhood bistro but on Sunday night anything can happen, and does.”

He went on to tell me that years ago it was the meeting place for vintage Morgan automobile owners of France. He motioned toward two middle-aged ladies sitting chatting at one of the window tables. “They must be the wives of two of the Morgan owners that used to meet here.” They were so engrossed in conversation that they were unaware of what was going on around them. My friend, hoping to spice things up, said something in French to the woman who had just lifted up her skirt. She came over to me and put her face down close to mine as if to kiss; I could smell the rancid odor of cigarette breath, stale garlic and perspiration and  turned my head away from hers.

Has anyone else ever been to this place on a Sunday night?

Elephant Bar – Hua Hin, Thailand

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Elephant Bar, Sofitel Centara Grand, Hua Hin (photo credit:

1 Damnernkasem Road  77110 Hua Hin, Thailand
(+66)32/512021 – (+66)32/511014
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Expensive-Very Expensive

An elegant and comfortable bar that I always pay a visit to at least once when visiting Hua Hin. It is off to the right in the lobby of  the Sofitel Centara Grand Hotel conveniently located in Hua Hin’s downtown area and also fronting the beach.

Elephant Bar, The Bar (photo credit:

The bar is always staffed with lovely girls that know their job as well as being pleasant and courteous.

Elephant Bar, Painting (photo credit:

Flight of Wines (photo credit:

A promotion of a flight of three different white wines or three different red wines served along with an assortment of appetizers pictured above and below.

Flight of Wines with Appetizers

Restaurants Pescaderia & Chez Daimo, Naha, Okinawa – Japan

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Naha Downtown

Tel 098-901-0142
Kamamizu Sakihara Chisaki,
Naha City, Okinawa

Pecaderia, as the name would suggest, specializes in seafood and the restaurant serves live oysters and scallops in the shells, which they wheel to the table on a trolley. You may choose to have the scallops as sashimi or sautéed with garlic. Both were very good, as the mollusks were so fresh.

Chez Daimo
Tel. 098-867-9418
2-2-21 Kume Naha-C,

This small restaurant would be a find anywhere but it is especially exciting to be recommended to a place of this caliber in Naha City, Okinawa where gastronomic treasures are at a minimum. The small dining room has only one table that seats six and a counter with ten stools surrounding an open kitchen where large, imposing, Okinawa-born chef/owner, Daimo san, spins his culinary magic for a handful of people every night.
We started with a perfectly marinated and concocted octopus salad with tomatoes and accompanied at the same time by another dish of fresh sardines with salad. It was followed by a risotto of clams and an incredibly good chicken “confit style”, specially raised on a neighboring island.
When we had to turn back a second bottle of Corvo Rosso because it was off, Daimo san said that it was his last bottle and in place of it he brought out a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau a day before its intended release.

Selan Restaurant – Tokyo

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Selan Restaurant Tokyo (photo credit: selan-tokyo)2-1-19 Kita Aoyama, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 107
Tel. 03-3478-2200
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm and 6-9:30pm; Sun 11:30am-2:30pm and 6-8:30pm (last order)
Cuisine Italian
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate

Selan is located on the road leading to the Tokyo Museum and Meiji-Jingu-Gaien Park with a large open-air terrace in the front. The interior of the restaurant is stark white and brutally modern but is mellowed by views from the many windows onto surrounding trees and the bustle of the large open kitchen.
The set lunch menu is a good choice here and offers a starter, main course, dessert and coffee or tea. Each course was attractively presented and neatly placed on the plate.
This place is popular with a young, affluent crowd and there is usually a wait for a table especially during lunch on the weekends or on holidays.
Californian or Italian wine selections are available by the glass at relatively reasonable prices.

Brasserie Jo – Chicago

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Brasserie Jo  (Closed) See Paris Club
59 W. Hubbard
Chicago, Il
French Brasserie
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate

While attending the Chicago Restaurant Show either in May 1996 or 1997 I had the pleasure to have dinner at Brasserie Jo and met Chef Jean Joho, and also present that evening was Patrick Terrail and many other Los Angeles restaurateurs that I knew. I had this to say about Brasserie Jo sometime after:

“Brasserie Jo holds a very special place in America. It is a true Alsatian Brasserie decorated in the style of the turn of the last century and I can not think of another restaurant in this country that comes as close to duplicating the authentic feeling of a true French brasserie as this restaurant does. Brasserie Jo was and remains to be a hit since it opened in 1995.
Accomplished maitre d’hotel, Jean-Marie Vandenbulcke, handles the front and Jean Joho supervises the kitchen. Alsatian wines are featured along with many French and Belgian beers that can be quaffed at the 20 seat zinc bar that was imported from France. The enormous dining room is usually packed with people and an interesting event happens every Thursday night, the “Soiree de Chapeau” where customers that wear a stylish hat win a free dessert.
The brasserie can accommodate private parties of up to 80 people and the patio seats 30.
The wonderful Alsatian menu is supported by an excellent and broad ranging wine list that has many interesting choices from the Alsace region as well as a good selection of French aperitifs and eaux de vie.
Starters: Onion soup gratinée
in crock; Assortment of pate; Duck Rilette; Smoked Salmon, crispy potato; Pate en croute Strasbourgeoise; Oysters daily selection with shallot migonette la piece. Main courses: Roasted Chicken, pomme puree; Garlic Chicken, pomme puree; Chicken Coq au vin; Filet of Salmon, lentils; The Famous Shrimp Bag; Mussels, Riesling sauce, pommes persillees; Brasserie Skirt Steak, shallot red wine; Steak, pomme frites; Choucroute a l’alsacienne.”

As with everything else time passes, and things may not be as glorious as they once were under the present Rich Melman’s “Lettuce Entertain You” blanket. Although, on the other hand, it still has the brasserie look and feel and I was happy with everything including the wine list, extensive beer menu, steak frites, mussels, the excellent crusty bread, profiteroles, the shrimp bag with lobster sauce. All tolled, nothing much had changed and the menu was much the same, and it still remains one of my favorite French brasseries in the United States.

Kushi-Tei of Tokyo, Serving Kushiage, and Yakatori – Bangkok

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Contributed by: Emi Kagawa

1st Floor Penny’s Balcony (Across the road from J-Avenue)
Thong Lo Soi 16
Tel. +66 (0) 2392 3518
Opening Hours: 6:00am-11:00pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Inexpensive

On the drinks side they have it covered with Asahi Beer on draught, a good selection of Shochu and Sake with one Shochu by the glass (made from sugar-cane) and one Sake “Jun” by the glass both are quite good and priced properly at 150 THB.

The original of this Yakatori (grilled skewered chicken) Kushikatsu, or Kushiage (deep fried skewered meat) restaurant was located in Tokyo and for some odd reason the owner,  Yasuo Tsukatani abruptly closed it, and moved the operation to the Netherlands. The Thai chef in Bangkok enrolled in a training course and learned how to cook all the dishes exactly to the original recipes by the owner, and earned a degree that is visibly posed near the front door. The training came off well as the cooking is really good. The chicken with shiso leaves is one of the exemplary examples, as well as the chicken meatballs. They make a good salad with and without seaweed although they are a bit too generous with the dressing, I found an improvement in the salad when I ordered the dressing on the side although, this could just be my personal taste.

Bussaracum Restaurant “Royal Thai-style Cuisine”, Bangkok

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Contributed by Emi Kagawa

Bussaracum Thai Restaurant
912/6 (Opposite Soi Thonglo 25) Sukhumvit 55 Road
Klongton Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Thailand
Tel: (662) 714 7801-5
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate

Bussaracum is one of Bangkok’s most well-known restaurants, famed for being the first Thai restaurant serving intricate fruit and vegetable carvings and Royal Thai-style cuisine. I enjoyed dined there immensely when I first visited Thailand in 1985 in its original location off Silom Road, now following the current shift, the restaurant has relocated to the trendiest area in Bangkok today, Sukhumvit Soi 55, Thonglor. I have recently dined at their new location, and I concur with people that are knowledgeable about Thai cuisine, that they are still serving the same top quality cooking. It is definitely a “must” to dine in this charming restaurant, which has been serving authentic Royal Thai-style cuisine in Bangkok for 28 years. They have garnered international publicity that other Thai restaurants can only dream of. Among the hundreds of write-ups that they have received over the years NEWSWEEK gave them the accolade. . .”One of  Thailands’s most elegant Thai restaurants” and they have the honor of being selected by Lord Litchfield for an entry in his book “Courvoisiers’ Best of the Best Awards”.  Bussaracum has been on the itinerary of many visiting government officials and heads of state including: the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf and Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau.
Recently Bussaracum along with partner restaurants Royal Kitchen and Becccofino Italian Restaurants, which comprise The Thonglor Project a restaurant management company that offers three of the top-rated cuisines in the world, Thai, Chinese and Italian are now actively looking for joint-venture partnerships for the purpose of overseas expansion in hotels or other prime locations. Bussaracum remains to offer their well-known cooking classes and you are invited to join. Please call Tel: (662) 714 7801-5 for more information.

Liquid Kitty Bar – West Los Angeles

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Liquid Kitty
11780 W. Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(between Barrington & Bundy on the south side of Pico)
Tel. 310-473-3707

Happy Hour:
Monday-Friday 5pm – 8pm
Sundays: All NIght
well Drinks: $4.50

Low Life: $4.00
(well shot and Pabst Blue Ribbon)
$1.00 off all Martinis

There is no sign with a name on it per se in front of Liquid Kitty Bar, a trendy Pico Boulevard dive—just look for a neon sign of a Martini glass with a flashing cigarette inside the bowl of the glass, on top of a dreary storefront.
Known for their large, award-winning Martinis, served in an over-sized frosted glass, Liquid Kitty charges $10 each but there is at least 3 oz. of ice cold vodka or gin in the glass, after consuming one you are on your own, and if you dare order another, you might be asking for trouble. Liquid Kitty has No TV’s  . . . No Pool Table and the small, very dark bar is just what you would expect this type of place to be.
Unless you are not into conversation, go early after the office and before the loud music starts and you will be able to hear every word spoken and you will not have to scream to be heard; everything is fine until after 8pm. If you are going to catch the sounds, than by all means turn up later in the evening when things are starting to get hot.

Beccofino Thonglor Gourmet Menu: Japanese King Crab, Abalone, Wagyu Beef – Bangkok

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

This exotic gourmet menu presents a rare opportunity to sample Japanese King Crab, Abalone and Wagyu Beef Ribeye or Live Maine Lobster together at the exceptional price of only 1,800 Thai Baht. This price reflects a huge discount off the regular price! This promotion is on through October and is attracting many discerning diners. There is also a similar menu featuring Kobe Beef Set at the same price. For more information or to make a booking call Beccofino Thonglor’s Restaurant Manager, Julian at Tel. 02 392 1881-2.