Most people think of Stage as a place to go for a full dinner, but you can actually go there just for dessert. Pastry chef Cainan Sabey always coming up with new things to push the envelope on creativity, or presentations with a twist.
The deep dive: The kitchen crew at Stage toured Ho Farms in Kahuku to see what new and interesting local products they could find to incorporate into their menu. One of the things that caught Sabey's eye was the farm's currant tomatoes, which are small, like berries, and are sweeter than regular tomatoes. It inspired him to create a dessert that would present the tomatoes in a different light, since we usually think of tomatoes as something we eat in salads.
The foundation of the dessert uses Ho Farms lemongrass to put some zing into the tart's curd, and in the accompanying olive oil sorbet. Sabey then halves and macerates the tomatoes in balsamic vinegar, and tops the tart with them. If you don't look closely, the tomatoes are indeed sweet enough to pass for dessert toppings. Maybe that's one way to get you to eat your vegetables (although technically, tomatoes are actually fruits).
That sorbet is a winner, too, and a refreshing dessert by itself. You don't even taste the olive oil, but Sabey says it's a proven combination.
This dessert is part of a new menu in celebration of Stage's renovation and re-opening — the dining room has a completely new look, the bar is now situated outside the doors to the restaurant, and the kitchen is significantly larger to accommodate catering and events. Sabey changes his desserts every few months, so it will be on the menu for the summer. All desserts are $14, and there are several choices on the menu, so you might want to grab some friends to try a few and get a feel for his creativity.
Here's a look at the new restaurant:
1250 Kapiolani Blvd.