I couldn't believe the Instagram message from Jennifer Hee, chef at Kaimuki's Juicy Brew:
"Hi Mari! Chef Jon Matsubara will be popping up here next week. Vegan Feast!"
Matsubara, you may recall, was the architect of the $65 Ultimate Loco Moco at Bloomingdale's Forty Carrots, an off-menu colossus of butter-poached beef tenderloin, lobster, foie gras and egg. Even the Hamakua mushroom rice had toasted bonito. (Don't go looking for it at Ala Moana now; the dish left when Matsubara did.)
"He is my high school best friend's brother," Hee wrote, "so I wanted to challenge him to a full vegan pop up. It's not super fancy — more like TV dinner kine."
Right. Matsubara cooked at Michelin-starred Jean-Georges in New York City, plus Tabla, Alan Wong's, Canoe House, Stage and Azure. He's one of the most gifted chefs in Hawaii. Meals at Feast, the pop-up business he started out of Anasia karaoke bar in Moiliili, featured comfort dishes like salt meat watercress soup and Hilo-style hamburger steak dripping in mushroom-onion gravy, or mushroom bisque and butter-poached crab and bacon sandwiches he might have made for his wife and mom. All of it was intensely flavorful — and intensely meaty.
Now that this confirmed carnivore is bringing haute-cuisine training and intense flavor to an entire vegan menu, I say bring stretch pants. Hee wasn't kidding when she said TV dinner. Here's what Matsubara texted when I asked if he had any photos of his dishes.
There will be a curry similar to the one he made at Forty Carrots above, a vegan chilled white pineapple curry with red Thai spices and shaved fennel. Everything wlll be a la carte; NF means nut-free and GF is gluten-free. It's all first come, first served, anytime between 6 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 11 to Saturday, June 15, 2019. And it's BYOB.
Here's the full menu. See you at Juicy Brew!
Jon Matsubara's Vegan Feast
Juicy Brew Kaimuki
June 11-15, 2019
6 to 8 p.m.
3392 Waialae Ave. at 8th Avenue