Wednesday, April 18, 7:00 p.m.
Members $95, guests $120
"The Manele Bay Hotel," Bob Payne wrote
in Bon Appétit, "is a place that makes it easy for beach
lovers to confuse Hawaii with heaven." No wonder: step out of your
lush, airy room in the Mediterranean-style villa hotel, nestled
on the lowest cliff of the volcanic hills of Lana'i, and you find
yourself facing an ocean view more perfect than anything Hollywood
has ever dreamed up. Sun and sand not your thing? You can golf,
if you'd prefer: there are two stunning courses here. Or maybe you'd
rather shoot clay targets, or climb a mountain, or go trail-riding.
Whatever. It's all unbelievably gorgeous, all part of your holiday
in nirvana. But whatever you do, make sure you're back in time for
dinner, and make doubly sure you don't spoil your appetite. You'll
want to be able to eat every bite of the globally inspired feast
that Edwin Goto serves each night at
the resort's widely acclaimed Ihilani Restaurant.
Goto, born and raised on the island of Oahu, earned his chops cooking
at top local restaurants. In 1983, he landed a spot in chef Khamien
Tanhchaleun's kitchens at
the AAA Five-Diamond Halekulani resort's
much-celebrated La Mer restaurant in
Honolulu. In 1987, he headed for the mainland. In San Francisco,
Goto worked at Les Célébrités
in the Hotel Nikko, the Park
Grill in the Park Hyatt,
and the highly praised 1001 Nob Hill.
In 1992, he returned to Hawaii, serving as sous-chef at the Manele
Bay's Lana'i sister resort, the Lodge at Koele.
Two years later, he was named executive chef at the inland golfers'
paradise. That year, Condé Nast Traveler named the
Lodge at Koele Hawaii's top restaurant. Under Goto's guidance, the
resort earned Hawaii's highest marks from Zagat, a first-place
ranking from Gourmet, and a slew of other awards and accolades.
In his latest venture, Goto promises to deliver more of the luxe
Pacific Rim fare that has made him the toast of the islands, such
as chilled hearts of palm and asparagus salad with macadamia nuts
and coconut-lime dressing, or Japanese hamachi tartare with coconut,
cilantro, and twice-cooked green plantains. Tom
Passavant, writing in Diversions, described Goto's
food as "utterly delicious." Mulling over a Goto meal, he concluded,
"This is savoring the good life, in more ways than one."