Rock Steady


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Red and yellow beet salad with local goat cheese, arugula and shallots (All photos courtesy Basalt).

Basalt by definition translates into a dark colored solidification of molten lava rock wether below or on the earth’s surface, this bedrock is the foundation of our island home. The Hawaiian Islands were formed by hot spots, volcanoes and lava; now this bedrock maintains strength, history and heritage within our culture. Basalt was created to pay homage to the many foundations that inspire and influence the culture in Hawai‘i. Known as a melting pot in the Pacific, the islands of aloha also maintain diverse cultural blending along with international influences and unique local highlights. This is also the case for the cuisine and culinary inspirations expertly crafted and curated at Basalt.

Grounded in history and Hawaiian roots, this contemporary restaurant boasts New American cuisine accentuated by international flavors while utilizing local ingredients. The vision of Hawai‘i-based retail mogul Paul Kosasa, is nestled within the new Dukes Lane Market & Eatery formerly known as the Waikiki Trade Center). This upscale food hall and market boasts freshly baked pastries, artisan pizzas and piping-hot rotisserie chicken. As the main focal point, Basalt restaurant entices with its open kitchen and 360-degree bar centered within the restaurant’s indoor dining room. The moment you step into the 150-seat restaurant, the melodies of blues-inspired jazz beckon you. The de?cor is industrial in design and the combination of bar seating and indoor/outdoor lanai tables means there is ample seating for everyone.

Executive chef Keith Kong is welcoming, approachable and personable. His smile is warm like the Waikiki sun and his demeanor is humble and comforting. Much of these traits come from Kong’s notable roots—born and raised in Hawai‘i—and his many years spent abroad in the kitchen. As a college student, who had never lived out-of-state before, Kong stumbled upon a career working in a restaurant’s kitchen. First hired as a dishwasher in Colorado near the border of Wyoming, he admittedly fell in love with all the components of becoming a chef. “As I started washing dishes, I worked my way all the way up to an assistant chef as a part-time college student,” he shares. “Within four to five months, I knew this is what I needed to do.”

Once finding his life’s passion and inspired to delve into the culinary world, he fully committed to honing his skills as a chef. Kong enlisted as a student at the California Culinary Academy (an affiliate of Le Cordon Bleu), went on to the tony Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach and eventually relocated to Napa Valley as the chef de cuisine at acclaimed Michelin-starred Auberge du Soleil. After many years spent away from the shores of his home, Kong decided to return to Hawai‘i with his family. Bringing back the many years of experience and classic French technique, Kong stood firmly at the helm in the kitchen of Kilauea Lodge on the Big Island, Matteo’s in Waikiki and 15 years at Dukes Waikiki before finding his new home at Basalt.

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