Update: The natto dinner is sold out.
So natto, Japan’s famously stinky-slimy fermented beans, they get a bad rap. But here’s the thing: Natto can go haute.
In fact, thanks to the fervent appetites of Hawaii’s natto worshippers, over the years we’ve enlisted chefs like Andrew Le of the Pig and the Lady, Robert and Minaka Urquidi of Ethel’s Grill, Hide Yoshimoto of Izakaya Torae Torae and Grant Kawasaki of OC16 to bring us sublime natto creations. We’ve had uni-natto terrines, natto with bone marrow and truffles, natto-grilled cheese sandwiches, natto escargots and lots of natto desserts.
Since we’ve been hearing rumblings from people who cannot wait for our annual midsummer feast in July, we’ve enlisted uber talented chef Lee Anne Wong to create an elegant, all-natto feast at Kaimuki’s Koko Head Cafe next Saturday, March 18.
“It’s gonna be closer to an informal natto pupu party,” she says, “up to 10 natto dishes to be served family style and pupu style. It should be plenty of food … figure 1.5 to 2 pounds of food per person.”
I’ll admit, I’ve never anticipated a feast in terms of pounds of food per person. Here are some of Wong’s preliminary natto ideas, which I warn you are entirely subject to change:
• Natto Nori Fish Fritters
• Natto Moco, Quail Egg, Bacon Hollandaise
• Bagna Cauda, Natto-Miso Butter
• Jidori Chicken-Natto Sweet Rice in Bamboo Leaf
• Venison Tataki, Goma-Natto
• Kauai Prawns, Natto-Garlic Crumble
• Natto Cakes, Shoyu Chili Vinegar
Natto with venison may be a world first. Same goes for natto-garlic crumble. Yum!
Like all our dinners, this one is open to all natto lovers. There is only one rule: You must love natto. There will be no menu substitutions.
Dinner is $55 and includes tax and tip but not drinks. Koko Head Cafe has a full bar, so you won’t go thirsty. Also, this spot is intimate: There are only 40 seats, and these dinners always sell out.
Ready to feast? Here’s where to buy tickets. You’ll find all details below the video.
– Video courtesy of @jjjjeessssssssss
MARCH 18 NATTO FEAST
Koko Head Cafe
1145 12th Ave.
Saturday, March 18 at 6 p.m.
Tickets: $55 includes tax and tip, available online
Full no-host bar
Parking: Street parking and municipal lots