Blog: Luckyrice 2012- Sunset Luau
If you read our piece yesterday on the Epicurean Cocktail Feast, you fully understand the care and class that goes into planning the now annual Luckyrice Festival. Wednesday night’s Sunset Luau event at the prestigiously posh Plunge atop the roof of the Meatpacking District’s Hotel Gansevoort was no different, bringing the delicious flavors of Hawaii to the elegance of downtown New York City. With a mixture of beautifully crafted cocktails being poured and after-work New Yorkers dressed to the nines, the evening was a lesson in refinement, pulled off effortlessly in another extraordinary venue.
The two hour long affair was full of excitement- from the first Luau style performance on stage with a sea of Hawaiian dancers to the final Mai Tai grabbed by a thirsty patron. With unparalleled views of the City, equipped with a full length swimming pool outside, the Gansevoort rooftop is one of the most sought after and picturesque settings in any neighborhood and although some of the food and drink lines forced hungry attendees to wait briefly, the atmosphere more than made up for any impatience.
What was truly exceptional about the Sunset Luau was that Luckyrice transported the authenticity of Hawaii into our little Metropolis- from the sponsors to the dancers, to the chefs and mixologists themselves- the evening truly felt like a transportation to the Aloha State. The entire layout of Plunge was spread out with distinctive food and cocktail concoctions. Oahu Chef Alan Wong (Alan Wong’s) was preparing perhaps the evening’s most delicious dish- a “Chopped Ahi Sashimi” atop an avocado salsa stack. With a massive serving dish of help-yourself style fresh “Poke” which had to continually be replenished, the cold tuna was incredible. The sesame flavor mixed with the chilled raw fish and fresh avocado paired deliciously and the adjacent “Pineapple Shave Ice,” with its sweet fruit topping and creamy base proved to be a perfect palette cleanser.
The lengthiest line however, was reserved for chef Chai Chaowasaree, courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines. When people caught wind of the words ‘crabcake’ and ‘lobster,’ they eschewed the main floor and headed straight for the seafood. The line managed to move relatively quickly though, with the servers feeding an array of bites whilst the line progressed. First up was a “Spicy Lemongrass Oxtail Soup Shooter”- a cherry tomato sphere, stuffed with the tender meat, and served in salted, savory broth. Next, was the remarkable “Crab Cake,” a wonderfully fried ball filled with real crab meat and served with a side of pickled vegetables and over a dollop of roasted garlic aioli. The “Lemongrass and Coconut Milk Poached Kona Lobster” was the topper however, served over a creamy sweet corn reduction, which made the perfect combination for lapping up the outstanding lobster meat. The “Sticky Rice Fried Rice” wrapped in Ti leaves and served paella style with mushrooms, pork, and island chicken, made for a terrific side.
Also deserving praise- Chef Roy Yamaguchi’s “Hawaii Rancher’s Ribeye” and Chef Vikram Garg’s “Lomi Lomi Salmon” were two of the other more inventive tastes of Luckyrice from either night thus far. And mixologist Julie Reiner’s “Mai Tai” was a perfect compliment to an elegant evening of genuine Hawaiian flavor. With two of the week long festival of events already in the books, there’s a slew of exciting things still to come. Hopefully you were fortunate enough to grab your tickets early as much of the week is sold out, but you can track everything going on at Luckyrice.com. And make sure to keep tabs on the 2013 iteration. If the past two nights have been any indication of what’s to come, you will not be disappointed.
- Jane Van Arsdale