Grand Sushi, Scotch And Views
Robert Louis Stevenson declares his love of whisky in the poem The Scotman’s Return from Abroad.
“The king o’ drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, Isla, or Glenlivet!”
As the author of Treasure Island, Stevenson spent six months living in Hawaii and became a good friend of King Kalakaua and Princess Victoria Kaiulani. To honor the adventurous spirit that Stevenson inspired in his readers, the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i offers Stevenson’s Library – a cozy, book-paneled harbor steeped in literary tradition.
First edition prints are tucked along the shelves and inlaid chessboards grace lacquered tables. A well-rounded selection of single-malt Scotch, vintage ports, cognacs and premium sake line the koa-wood bar as overstuffed couches, and backgammon and pool tables invite guests to settle in for the evening.
It’s open every evening from 6 p.m. to midnight, with live music from 8 to 11 p.m., and a small pupu menu from 6:30 to 9 p.m. features hamburgers and salads. Every Friday through Monday, there is sushi.
On the lanai, the view from Stevenson’s Library encompasses wind-blown palm trees, a chef’s herb garden, manicured lawns laced with winding pools, and on sunny days a sapphire-colored ocean.
This is our view as we dine on sushi and imbibe in island-inspired cocktails. My husband Dan enjoys a Mango Hemingway ($14), made with White Koloa Rum, Cruzan Mango Rum, maraschino liquor and topped with spicy aioli and salty unagi sauce. Every sushi roll is cut into eight large pieces and, as I take a bite, my mouth is filled with zesty flavors and crunchy textures.
With spicy tuna at its center, the Dragon Roll ($18) is topped with unagi glazed eel. Avocado and cucumber temper the tuna and makes each luscious bite fresh and earthy.
Delicate flavors of cucumber and sweet scallops are at the center of the Sunrise Roll ($21), which is topped with a satiny strip of fresh ahi. A dollop of wasabi aioli is sprinkled with wasabi tobiko (fish roe) and after a bite, your sinuses fill with the pungent aroma of the Japanese root that tastes like horseradish.
A tricolored pastel spectrum tops the Rainbow Roll ($24). At the center, a creamy king crab mix lends a sweet seafood flavor. Strips of avocado top the rice, and each piece is gilded with ahi, hamachi or salmon.
My folks are visiting this summer and after an adventure on Kaua’i’s South Shore, I’m bringing them to Stevenson’s Library.
It’s a sophisticated yet comfortable place to relax and enjoy paradise.
Stevenson’s Library At the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i 1571 Poipu Road, Koloa Open every day, 6 p.m. to midnight
Marta Lane is a Kaua’i-based food writer. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.