By Léo Azambuja
Five years ago, Kaua‘i Grill opened its doors for the first time at St. Regis Princeville Resort, offering the world-class cuisine of internationally acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
On Nov. 13, Kaua‘i Grill will celebrate its anniversary by offering a Bordeaux Wine Dinner, a special tasting menu paired with wines from one of the most prestigious wine-producing regions in France.
“We already have a tasting menu with wine pairing every night, but this will be a special menu featuring the wines of the Bordeaux region,” Kaua‘i Grill Manager David Putnicki said.
As Vongerichten put it himself exactly five years ago, Kaua‘i Grill offers “world-class dining experience” highlighting the best of what Hawai‘i has to offer, sourcing locally from fishermen and organic farmers.
Walking into Kaua‘i Grill is in itself a thrilling experience. Located inside the island’s most luxurious resort, the restaurant features a unique and elegant décor, evoking Hawai‘i’s colors with a modern version. The staff shines for its friendliness, sharp knowledge and effectiveness.
However, the real gem of Kaua‘i Grill, its menu, gives everything else a supporting role. Every appetizer, salad, entrée or desert is — best described — an explosion of flavors resulting in a rainbow of tastes.
Thursday’s five-course menu will be different than the restaurant’s regular options. You’ll have a chance to experience something out-of-the-ordinary from an already out-of-the-ordinary menu, all of it enhanced by a sensory wine tour through Bordeaux.
The first course, Figs & Arugula Salad, Fennel Citrus Vinagrette, is paired with Lillet Rose Tonic.
Lillet is an aperitif originally created by brothers Paul and Raymond Lillet in 1872 in Podensac Village, Bordeaux. It contains 85 percent wine and 15 percent quinine and orange peel liqueur. Lillet was immortalized after James Bond’s Vesper Martini in Casino Royale in 1967.
The second course is Sun Choke & Black Truffle Cappucino, Brioche Crostini, paired with Chateau La Freynelle Blanc 2011, Entre-Deux-Mers.
La Freynelle has been in the Barthe family for seven generations since 1789. The current owner and oenologist, Veronique Barthe, inherited the chateau in 1990 and is the first female winemaker in the family history. This particular wine — called by critics a “juicy French Bordeaux blend that is a great alternative to boring whites” — is 50 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 30 percent Semillon and 20 percent Muscadelle from 25 year old vines.
The third course is a Prosciutto Wrapped Mero, Glazed Pearl Onions, Pommes Allumettes, Pinot Noir Sauce. Here, the wine pairing steps up as far as robustness — this course is paired with Cadrans de Lassegue 2010, Saint-Emillion Grand Cru.
Saint-Emillion is a key wine town, significant in quality and quantity, in the Libournais district of Bordeaux, with vineyards since Roman times. This red Bordeaux blend — 60 percent Merlot, 30 percent Cabernet Franc, 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon — has a dark, deep color with vibrant and lively fruit flavors. It offers elegance with well-integrated, round, silky tannins and barrel aging that are almost undetectable.
The fourth course is Roasted Veal Striploin, Kabocha Squash Gnocchi, Oyster Mushrooms, Parmesan Jus. The wine pairing is Chateau Mongravey 2011, Margaux.
The Wine Spectator Magazine rates this red Bordeaux a high 88 points. The Chateau Mongravey 2011 offers “lilac and black tea aromas, with supple plum sauce, currant preserves and black cherry fruit at the core. Velvety and elegant through the finish.”
The fifth and final course is Apple & Anjou Pear Crumble, Coconut Crisp, Speculous Gelatto, paired with Chateau Gravas Sauternes 2010, Sauternes.
Founded in 1789, Château Gravas has been in the Bernard family for five generations. This sweet white Bordeaux blend of 95 percent Semillon and 5 percent Sauvignon Blanc offers aromas of candied fruits backed up by a hint of exotic fruit such as mango and guava. On the palate, it is described as ample and fleshy, leading into a silky and long finish.
Besides Thursday’s anniversary menu, Kaua‘i Grill is also offering special tasting menus and wine pairings on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
Kaua‘i Grill is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at St. Regis Princeville Resort, at 5520 Ka Haku Rd. Call 826-9644 or visit www.stregis.com for more information.