June 30th, 2016
Once a month Adam Gilbert sets up the patio of his Plantation Tavern restaurant in Kapolei for a dozen or so guests primed to appreciate a good pairing of food and wine.
June's dinner was held Wednesday night, a three-course meal of tomato bisque, duck confit and creme brulee.
Plantation Tavern is not a fancy-pants restaurant. It's an unpretentious, family-friendly place set in a strip mall between a bead shop and a Chinese restaurant. Gilbert says he designed it to be affordable and comfortable, "so you can come in here in a construction outfit or on a date."
The menu is plantation-inspired, with traditional Korean, Chinese, Hawaiian and Filipino dishes all prepared in today's farm-to-table spirit. He's fascinated, Gilbert says, "by how Hawaii came to be," but also believes strongly in sustainable food production and sources his ingredients from Kahumana Organic Farms, Honolulu's fishmarket and Big Island cattle ranches.
The wine dinners allow him to build on that philosophy and stretch the chefs chops developed in a long career that included stints in the kitchens of Indigo, 3660 on the Rise and Padovani's Bistro & Wine Bar. Just before opening Plantation Tavern he was executive chef for the Star of Honolulu cruise ship.
Gilbert's partner in these wine dinners is Danny Matsushita, a wine expert who selected two wines for each dish, then happily refilled glasses of whichever the diner liked best, or both in many cases.
Wine dinners at Plantation Tavern take place at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month (June's was later than usual). Cost varies; this week's was $68. Call 888-4299. The restaurant's regular hours are 11 a.m. to midnight.