After a lot of fanfare over opening with chef Chris Kajioka and then a period with chef Jonathan Mizukami, the original Vintage Cave seemed to go dark once Shirokiya and the Vintage Cave Cafe got built on the Ewa side of Ala Moana Center. Many people thought that it had closed.
I knew it was still open because my classmate's brother, Edwin Mizuno, had taken a job there as the chef de cuisine seven months ago under Executive Chef Hajime Kuwata and would post some of the dishes they served. Recently, my Kawananakoa classmate Alan Hirano started as the general manager, and he invited me and some friends for dinner to experience the newest menu.
There's more to this than Hirano taking over and getting more exposure for the exclusive club; they're selling memberships again, starting at $5,000, and are looking to expand to New York City soon. The interior of the new club will be about 30,000 square feet, featuring a replica of Kyoto's famous bamboo forest, including a waterfall and a pond.
And, after a three-year gap, the Vintage Cave's six-seat sushi bar has reopened with chef Hirofumi Beniya, the chef who opened Beniya in Waikiki Yokocho. (Obviously, he's no longer at that venue.) To generate awareness of the Cave sushi bar, the club offered a 50 percent discount — $150 omakase instead of the usual $300 — to members for the month of July, and the seats sold out so quickly that they extended it to August. At this writing, there are a few single seats left for August, so the promotion has been extended through September!
The French-style kaiseki is still $300, featuring about 11 tasting courses, but that is also being offered for $150 for now through the end of September as they rebuild awareness of the restaurant, the chef, and the memberships. The menu is constantly changing, but here's a look at what we ate.
It was an exquisite dinner and as you can see, still presented artfully. Yes, the original Vintage Cave is open to the public for either the French kaiseki or the sushi bar (if you can get in). They're open for dinner nightly except Sunday, and you can call or make reservations online, which is also a new feature.
Vintage Cave Club
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.