Is Bar Maze Amaze?

Bar Maze is an omakase dinner and cocktail experience in Honolulu. Here was the menu the night we dined there:

On the omakase menu, there were two options: add caviar to the second course and change to wagyu in the 3rd course. We did both. We also had the drink pairing. The banchan will make more sense later on in this post. The meal starts with a snack set:

Although all the bites were delicious, the star was by far the shrimp toast. I wanted the flavor to linger….forever! The 1st course was the scallops. I thought the presentation throughout the meal was elegant without trying too hard, and all the dinnerware was very cool/unique.

The next course was the butterfish with a very delicious and luscious shirodashi butter sauce. My only complaint is that dish was a bit overseasoned.

The idea was to dip the brioche in the sauce then spread caviar on it. It was a brilliant idea and I loved every morsel.

For the main course, we had the wagyu with banchan. Banchan is basically from Korean cuisine and means a bunch of side dishes, like kimchee, to accompany a meal. I love how the provenance on everything was laid out on the reverse of the menu as per the second pic in this post above.

The course also included rice cooked in the drippings of the wagyu. For dessert, there was the restaurant’s take on the Hawaiian classic, shave ice. This was probably the only dish I did not like as much because I think shave ice is perfect as is, and its hard to create a fine dining interpretation of it. Some food/dishes just don’t lend well to being made high end (for example, I have had pho at many places that try to do a “high end” version, but all usually fail because a $5 “street” version is already perfect).

The kitchen also sent out this bite:

…and a petite four to finish:

Overall the service was good although we were seated about 15-20 minutes late for our reservation. This is understandable as the restaurant is quite new and probably still figuring out the timing of its menu. The kitchen is open and the interior is clean and minimalist with Japanese styling. The food is refined and packed with flavor. I would recommend checking this place out.

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