Aidan James and YOZA at Stage Restaurant

Underground, local, and emerging artists are quickly finding a home at Stage Restaurant, in the Honolulu Design Center. Every month, the hip restaurant with an eye for design features a local act as part of their themed performance dinners. Acoustic Soul Fusion was this month’s theme and highlighted the sounds of 14-year-old local phenom, Aidan James, and the very soulful Yoza. Of course, at Stage Restaurant, the main attraction is the food…and this performance menu did not disappoint.

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A Lush Blush, the evenings signature cocktail. With some mixology voodoo, the colors of the drink changed while the glass rested on my table.

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The amuse bouche was a French Onion Puff with Bacon and Chives. One of my favorite bites of the evening.

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Riff 1 featured a Duo of Kamuela Tomato, Prepared and Au Naturel Crispy Fried Tomato and Lemongrass Marinated Tomato, Smoked Goat Cheese, Basil, Mint, and Torn Croutons. My favorite dish of the evening. Such a simple and elegant pairing of the tomato and goat cheese. The juicy tomato, with its crunchy outer layer was designed to be savored.

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Riff 2: Tempura Shrimp Fritters, with Big Island Hearts of Palm, Sweet Sour Lilikoi Sauce, and Caper Remoulade. Tempura, fine dining style. This was one of Michelle’s favorite dishes of the evening. Seriously, can I get more of that sweet lilikoi sauce for future tempura use?

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Riff 3: Grilled Beef Short Rib with Pan Roasted Opah, featuring Kahuku Corn, Honshimeji Mushrooms, Okinawan Mash Potato, Soy Reduction and Chili Butter Sauce, Crispy Gobo, and Lotus Root. Stage’s play on the traditional surf and turf. That Okinawan Mash Potato…so good.

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Of course, each dish came with a wine pairing. To go with the short rib and opah, we enjoyed a 2013 Bodega Pulenta “La Flor” Malbec from Argentina.

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Regulars at Stage always look forward to the palate cleanser. The flavor of the night was elderberry.

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Riff 4: Lemon Yuzu Cake Salted Caramel Crunch, Hawaiian Honey Ice Cream, and Blackberry Elderflower Foam. Each dish at Stage really is a piece of art.

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Some Pumpkin Spice Macarons just because. If you like Chef Ron de Guzman’s pumpkin rolls, then you’ll absolutely adore these macarons.

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Of course, the music was the perfect pairing for the evening’s special menu. Keep an eye on Aidan James, he’ll be touring with Train in February. Yoza blew me away. So soulful. Her music is definitely worth listening to. I’ve already added her to my playlist.

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In full disclosure, Stage invited us to enjoy this month’s performance dinner with Aidan James and Yoza. That said, we’ve been fans of this event for a while now. The $60 price for the 4-course set menu (+$35 for the wine pairing) is well worth it, especially with the carefully curated selection of musical performers. If you’re looking for an evening out with a bit of a musical twist, I’d highly recommend making reservations for one of Stage’s future performance dinners.

Stage Restaurant
Honolulu Design Center
1250 Kapiolani Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii. Adventure, Minimalism, Vinyl, Typography, and Coffee + Matcha. A single space after a period, please.