Chef’s Counter at Beach Tree

The essence of “barefoot elegance,” Beach Tree restaurant has the feel of a Hawaiian beach house.

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Our dinner at the Chef’s Counter at Beach Tree is one of the top five meals I’ve had in my lifetime.  It was more than dinner – it was an experience.  I didn’t know anything about the Chef’s Counter until I arrived to Hawaii and was flipping through a magazine in the hotel room.  They had me at “start the night by sabering a champagne bottle.”

And that I did.  On the first try.

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This is a dinner I will never forget.  Not only was Chef Nick one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, but he ran the most organized kitchen I’ve ever seen.  All of his staff knew their purpose and had respect for the kitchen and the Chef.

There was no menu.  That’s right – I had no idea what we were going to eat when I made the reservation.  I knew that the restaurant’s cuisine is Californian with Italian influence.  Chef Nick got to know us and made the menu from there.  After our first glass of champagne, we all decided to take a trip of Southern Italy.  I knew I was in for a treat.

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One of the great things about Beach Tree is that they can open any and every bottle because they sell all wine (over 50 bottles) by the glass, carafe or bottle.  I guarantee we tasted 12 bottles of wine before the evening was over.

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The first dish was a house-made cheese over a parsley-walnut pesto with grilled house-made bread.  I die.  The pesto rocked my taste buds.  And grilled bread might have stolen my heart at first bite.

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This was one of my favorite bottles of white wine (other than the champagne) that we sipped.

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The wine never stopped.

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Pork belly!!!  And probably the best pork belly I’ve ever had.  It was so different than all the pork belly plates I’ve had in the past.  The heirloom tomatoes in Hawaii make me jealous!  Heirlooms year round?  The sauce was briny and delicious and I couldn’t get over the perfect texture of the pork.

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This dish worried me for Big Guy’s sake.  He does not like runny yolks.  (I adore runny yolks and there was nothing the Chef could put in front of me that would make me cringe.)  But we both ended up loving the dish.  The egg was slightly breaded and fried to perfection with a perfect runny yolk that paired perfectly with the grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.

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After watching pizza after pizza being tossed, sauced and topped, I was praying to get a bite.  And I did.  Wild boar pizza.  Big Guy died and went to heaven with the first bite.  Undeniably fresh dough with the perfect crust bubbles.

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I am so becoming a red wine drinker.  But only with food.  And the Chef assured me that Italians only drink red wine while eating.  It’s not something they sit around and sip.  Red wine is beginning to make sense to me.  And I like it.

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I couldn’t keep up with all the drinking!

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I don’t eat a lot of pasta but my word…  This!  This ravioli was out of this world.  House-made, insanely delicious, incredibly rich but perfectly balanced.

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A fish dish that Big Guy enjoyed.  Or perhaps his taste buds were just drunk.  What we thought was a sweet potato puree was actually carrots.  And there were caper berries that made every bite briny and delicious.

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More wine.  The Chef is a huge fan of the Tignanello.  Big Guy loved the Le Volte and I swayed more towards the Peppoli.

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After all the wine and food I didn’t know how I was going to make room for the main dish.  But I did.  (Thankfully the dinner spans over a 4 hour period.)

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The main dish was simple while the presentation was quite the opposite.  Grilled steak and pork were topped with grilled scallions and a side of the best potatoes I’ve ever tasted.  I need to know what was sprinkled on top of the potatoes.

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After the main course, the Chef rolled walked us out to a beach side table overlooking the ocean.  It was perfect.

There we sipped on house made limoncello and then were served personalized desserts.  Mine was chocolate heaven (cake filled with chocolate alongside home made cherry ice cream) and Big Guy was served the most amazing banana split you’ve ever seen.

By far one of the most amazing dinners and experiences of my life.

I can’t thank Chef Nick and his staff enough for making our evening so enjoyable and fun.




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