Just Roe With It

Halekulani’s new caviar service shows off the best of the international delicacy.

For Halekulani chef Vikram Garg, all it took was a taste of the grand chef caviar during a seven-course meal at Bordeaux’s Château Rauzan Segla, and he knew he had to have it at the Halekulani. And not just any caviar— that particular caviar. One problem: It wasn’t imported to the United States.

Cue months of strategizing with producers—customs, transportation across the globe, paperwork—and Sturia caviar is finally available on the menu at La Mer.

Photo courtesy Sturia

Photo courtesy Sturia

Like wine, caviar comes in different grades. The dark, shiny caviar classic ($160 for 30g) has a softer grain, while the osciètre ($240), a lighter gray, is firm, clean and bright tasting with salty capsules that burst in your mouth. The grand chef ($280)—the version that snared chef Garg—has tiny beads, a thick oily texture and an almost nutty profile. Garg likens the grand chef as the rib-eye to the osciètre’s tenderloin—bold and assertive compared with lean and delicate.

Service comes with traditional mother-of-pearl spoons and is rounded out by potato “blinis” that have been lifted to art form, light, hollow and perfectly salted, as well other traditional garnishes.

For pairing, sommelier Kevin Toyama serves chilled vodka in gorgeous ceramic shot glasses. Or, if you prefer Champagne, Toyama will steer you toward Pinot Munier-based sparkling wine, such as Gaston-Chiquet or Billecart-Salmon. During private tastings, Garg and Toyama have that the umami and iodine factor that makes sushi go especially well with Pinot Meunier-based sparkling wines also carried here.

One thing to keep in mind: You’ll want to plan on multiple visits for the full caviar experience. Seasonal changes—water temperature, the diet and size of the parent fish—can affect the flavor of the eggs. “Six months later, it will all be different,” Garg says.

For more information, visit halekulani.com or sturia.com.

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