a sybarite in paradise
reviewing the food & entertainment pleasures of Honolulu
Du Vin is a new spot in town owned by one of the owners of Bar 35 & Indigo. It is a cute wine bar/brasserie right across the street from the Hawaii Theatre. We first stopped here during Chinese New Year, right after we got off the boat from our whale watch. Back then we just had some cheese, frites and a glass of wine, promising to return to further pursue the menu. Last night we went back. The place is big and was fairly empty at 7:15. We had a nice choice of table and took one in the outdoor courtyard. This is an adorable place. The decor is right on. We expected a bit more of a dinner menu than there was, but we made do by ordering three small plates. We ordered the cheapest white wine on the menu a LaRoche Chardonnay ($28). They were out and had very little to offer in the same price range. The next Chardonnay was $44 and the one above that was $72. It took us a while and in the long run we just ordered two glasses of the $11 Chardonnay. I was upset and forget the vintage. O.K. I know it’s a wine bar and they’re going for a certain clientele, but I found the wine list outrageously expensive. To have $28 as the entry level white wine and to have only one in that range is unforgivable. The service was good, but our waitress wasn’t much help trying to find us a wine. One more complaint about the wine list. The font is hard to read in low light; the book is printed with upside-down pages on the left so that it can be flipped over to be read either by wine type or by country. It’s distracting to see this jumble of letters on the left hand page.
Our food started arriving. First was the marinated artichokes anti-pasta type dish, which included mango. It was unimpressive and bland. Nothing really wrong with it, but it needed something to give it some zing. Some freshly chopped parsley would have helped. Or even just some ground pepper. Next came the caramelized onion, gruyere cheese and anchovy tart with a salad alongside. The tart was delicious. Our final dish came, the mussels and frites. This is a dish I used to get in the French Bistros of San Francisco. Black mussels aren’t found here much and I love them. They were perfectly cooked. The frites were nice too. The mussels came in a deep cast iron mini caldron. The broth was great, but it was deep down in the dish and we didn’t get to it until half the mussels were gone. I would like to have them served in a wider shallower dish to allow getting at the yummy broth.
We will go back, but only for a special treat. Maybe in my old age (47) I need to also bring a lighted magnifying glass to read the menus too.
Du Vin
1115 Bethel St
Downtown Honolulu
Open: 11am-10pm Mon-Sat
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Du Vin