A Fine Romance

June 5, 2012 | By Waikiki Magazine Team

Michel’s puts you in the heart of elegant dining.

As we take our seats, the audible sound of waves crashing is as clear as the unhampered views of the Waikiki skyline. Literally situated on the beach, Michel’s at the Colony Surf boasts not only a feast for the eyes, but as the evening progressed, a feast for all the senses.

In today’s fast-moving world and next-big-thing mentality, it’s no wonder the shelf life of the average restaurant is getting shorter and shorter. What’s open one day is closed the next, and before you know it, a new eatery has taken over in hopes of being more successful than its predecessor. There are very few who are able to withstand the test of trends, and Michel’s original formula to wine, dine and keep the romance of fine dining alive has proven to be the secret of its success. For, how many restaurants have made it to the 50-year mark? This one comes to mind: Since the early ’60s, the oceanfront gem has been the go-to restaurant for couples, honeymooners and those simply in the mood for a thoughtful and refined dining experience.

On this particular visit, chef Eberhard “Hardy” Kintscher dazzled with a combination of regular menu items and seasonal specials. Prior to our first course, we were presented with an amuse-bouche: a perfect morsel of salmon with a morel mushroom sherry sauce. It was just one of the many pleasant surprises slated for that night.

Seasonal specials are always a good way to experience a chef’s impromptu creations. One to note is Hardy’s delicately flavored ‘ahi carpaccio, served with a light vinaigrette, diced beets, yellow bell peppers, bits of orange and hearts of palm. Other past specials have included grilled onaga, Beef Bourgogne and Belgian endive salad.

But Michel’s regular offerings are most likely the reason why the restaurant has continued to thrive all these years. Items such as its signature escargots will always be a must-order for many of the restaurant’s loyal patrons. Baked in Michel’s famous herbed-garlic butter, you smell its rich, buttery aroma even before the dish makes it to your table.

Another regular entrée on the bill of fare is the California Estero Bay Abalone. Pan-sautéed and served with spaghetti squash, wok spinach and pasta shells along with macadamia-nut butter and tomato coulis, the chewy, yet tender delicacy is one of the more popular items on the menu as well as one of the most exotic.

Those in search of something more carnivorous won’t be disappointed with the Kona-coffee glazed rack of lamb with fresh mint purée. Served with Big Island goat cheese mashed potatoes, baked baby fennel and port-coffee demi sauce, the hearty dish is a symphony of robust flavors and textures. And even if you’re not a fan of mint jelly, the mint purée is definitely a sauce to savor. The fresh mint au jus marries flawlessly with the coffee-crusted game, enhancing the lamb’s bold, smoky taste.

For dessert, one of Michel’s flambéed indulgences should end the night with an impressive bang. Whether Cherries Jubilee, Strawberries Foie Gras Forever, or Hawaiian Apple-Banana Flambé, the tableside preparation of the sweet endings adds an extra touch of panache to an already exquisite evening.

Michel’s at the Colony Surf
2895 Kalakaua Ave.
[E:12 Waikiki Map]
(808) 923-6552

Photos: Sandra Austoni