An Oasis For Fine Dining In Kapa‘a
There’s a place in Kapa’a that’s special to me, where ocean breezes and gentle surf open me up, allowing nature in and easing any worries out.
Oasis on the Beach, located in Waipouli Beach Resort, is where my husband Dan and I go for fine oceanfront dining we can feel good about. Because for Oasis, Malama Kaua’i is a guiding principle.
Since opening just over a year ago, Oasis has been making positive contributions to the community. Managing partner Stefan Mandel spearheads opportunities to support the island by using eco-friendly products such as flameless candles and buying 85 percent local products.
“It just makes sense,” he says. “When you buy locally, you use less fuel, less packaging, support local businesses, and the money stays on the island. We were ready when the plastic bag ban went into effect because we were already providing biodegradable bags and takeout containers.”
Executive chef Zach Sato, a mere 24 years old, applies an eclectic flair to his small-plate dishes. “He is our prodigy,” Mandel says of the young chef who actively procures local ingredients.
“All of our proteins come from Kaua’i first, then Hawai’i,” says Sato, a Maui native. “Duane Shimogawa’s grass-fed beef and Kevin Yamase’s fresh fish are featured on our menu.” It also features lamb from Omao and Kaneshiro pork.
Managing the front of the house, sommelier Collin Darrell enthusiastically creates a dining experience to fit our tastes. “Tell your server your likes, dislikes, how hungry you are and we will do a menu around those preferences,” he says of matching drinks with courses.
Darrell pairs a smooth Spanish white wine with the Kilauea Caprese ($12). Sato rolls creamy Kunana Dairy goat cheese in leek ashes and serves it with Kaua’i Fresh tomatoes and a basil sauce. The leek ashes add a subtle sweetness and elegance to the presentation.
Lead bartender Joel Downs uses his extensive knowledge of beer to create an atypical brew menu. Darrell serves us a sweet Troubadour Blond ($10), pairing it nicely with the spicy Waimea Prawns ($15) – shrimp marinated in Moroccan spices, grilled and served with an herb-laced chermoula sauce and cool ginger raita.
Undeniably, my favorite dish is the 2010 Taste of Hawaii People’s Choice winner: Beef Cheeks ($13) with Parmesan jus. Sitting on a bed of roasted Kaua’i Fungi mushrooms and white wine-poached fennel, the cheeks are fork-tender with a marvelous flavor. The accompanying carrot flan is warm and custard-like, spiced with cinnamon and fresh nutmeg, reminding me of pumpkin pie.
Bar manager Ryan Stanford is like a mad scientist when it comes to creating innovative cocktails. Aware of our preferences, he whips up a drink that complements dessert. Blending Amaretto and Tuaca with Port, he rims the glass with fresh orange zest and sugar.
The drink accentuates the buttery under-tones of the Wooten Apple Banana Spring Roll ($7) with caramel gelato.
The unexpected garnish of Moloka’i pink salt, which Sato gets from his uncle, ties the deep-fried dessert together.
Sunday brunch offers tasty spins on classic fare such as Sato’s Short-rib Hash with poached eggs and jalapeno hollandaise; four Bloody Mary combinations, including one with house-smoked bacon-infused vodka; and sparkling wine with pineapple, lilikoi or absinthe.
Food For Love is a sensual three-course tasting menu ($55) especially created for Valentine’s Day. Laced with aphrodisiacs
such as Fanny Bay oysters in Pernod gelée, and dark chocolate demitasse with white chocolate clouds, the menu at Oasis on the Beach is sure to invoke a magical evening by the sea.
Oasis on the Beach
4-820 Kuhio Hwy., Kapa’a
Open daily, 4-9 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Brunch, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Happy hour daily, 4-6 p.m.
Wednesday, live music and half off Chef’s Choice Menu
Reservations are strongly recommended: 822-9332 oasiskauai.com