Wine Down

Food and wine pairings liven up Wednesdays at town

When it comes to days of the week, nobody likes Mondays – no explanation needed for that. Rock band The Cure is “in love” with Fridays, and from January to May, Tuesdays engage us with American Idol.

But what about Wednesday? What can we do on this day besides let it pass and get one step closer to Thursday? town restaurant in Kaimuki may have an answer for us with Wine Down Wednesday, an evening devoted to great wine, great food and great fun. It gives Wednesday an identity all its own.

To partake of Wine Down Wednesday, head to town (located in the heart of Kaimuki on Waialae Avenue), take a seat at any of its outdoor tables – which offer the perfect opportunity for people-watching and relaxing in the nighttime air – and indulge in some of town’s delicious tapas paired with four wonderful wines.

All the fun starts at 6:30 p.m.

“We do it outside just to attract people – people driving by, they see a busy restaurant, they want to come in,” says town general manager Ian Bishop. “It actually helps.

Wednesday is one of our busier days of the week … it gives the opportunity for our wine salesmen and wine enthusiasts to come out and show wines that most people don’t really know, and just introduce new things to people who are actually drinking and enjoying wine.”

Bishop says surprise guests sometimes even stop by on Wine Down Wednesdays.

“We have a winemaker in town from Oregon, Boyd Teagarden. He’s been giving us great deals on wine, especially the pinot noir. They’re fantastic, and everyone’s in love with them. It’s really awesome,” Bishop says with a smile.

Because town changes both its food and wine menus daily, you may get to try one of Teagarden’s pinots one day and something totally different the next (perhaps a Spanish wine). Bishop says that he, owner Ed Kenney and executive chef Dave Caldiero enjoy serving old-world wines – wines that aren’t readily available to everyone – so when customers stop by for Wine Down Wednesday, they’re constantly expanding their palate. town also changes its wine seasonally, serving heavy reds in the winter and light, refreshing whites in the summer.

“We work closely with our distributors, and sometimes we do wines they want to sell and wines they want to push – wines they want people to know about. Most of the time we get samples, but a lot of times we don’t, so we’re working on other people’s descriptions and tastings,” explains Bishop. “Our chef will come up with (food) pairings based on those notes. Usually they’re pretty dead-on. It’s nice to have chefs who know their wine and really, really know their ingredients. Our whole menu’s based around that. Our wine goes with our food; our food goes with our wine.”

Speaking of the menu, Bishop says it’s called “American Contemporary.” But town’s food incorporates a Mediterranean style, as well. Most importantly, the menu centers around fresh Island ingredients.

“All of our ingredients come from local farmers. Because we rely on the local farmers for freshness, our menu does change every day, depending on what we get,” reveals Bishop. “A couple of the things, like the ahi tartar, for instance, and our pan-roasted chicken, we can’t take off the menu because everyone comes back and demands it.”

While partaking of Wine Down Wednesday, customers can start off with the ahi tartar (ahi served on seared risotto cakes), or an organic stone-ground soft polenta topped with Big Island red veal. If you’re still hungry, order from the regular menu of salads, entrees and heavenly desserts.

An awesome entree to try, recommends Bishop, is the gnocchi, which is handmade just before service.

“If you’ve ever had gnocchi and you’re a fan of gnocchi – or even if you’ve never had it – it is honestly the best gnocchi you will have in Hawaii,” Bishop says.

Call-aheads are encouraged for Wine Down Wednesdays. town can be reached at 735-5900.

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