The Artistry of Salads at Arden Waikiki: A Culinary Journey 

Arden’s salads are more than just starters; they transport diners to a world where flavors intertwine and traditions collide.  

A Confluence of Tradition and Local Innovation -Don’t call it a “Caesar” 

The Island “Caesar” Salad holds a special place on the menu. While it may not be the traditional rendition, it captivates diners with its unique twist. The absence of anchovies lends a lighter touch to the salad, allowing the other flavors to shine.  

Chef Makoto sought to craft a dressing that would be both creamy and light. Tofu became the base, providing a smooth canvas for the flavors to blend harmoniously. However, Chef Makoto felt that the tofu alone lacked the desired richness. Enter macadamia nuts, a healthier alternative to oils, that added depth and a touch of indulgence. To further enhance the flavor profile, cheese made its grand entrance. 

Nestled on the North Shore of Oahu, Sweet Land Farm became the source of the tantalizing tomme cheese. This semi-hard cheese brought a distinct flavor and a delightful touch of fattiness to the Island “Caesar” Salad. A visit to Sweet Land Farm proved to be an awe-inspiring experience for the Arden chefs. The farm’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere, coupled with the endearing practice of naming their goats, created a truly memorable encounter. 

Every element of the Island “Caesar” at Arden Waikiki is carefully curated to evoke a sense of adventure. As a creative alternative to traditional croutons, Chef uses the crispy twist of ulu chips sourced from the Hawaii Ulu Cooperative. These chips arrive cooked and are expertly peeled and fried by Makoto himself. The result? A crunchy texture that adds a unique charm to this contemporary masterpiece. 

The Li Hing Tomato Salad: The Yin & Yang of Local Flavor 

Arden Waikiki’s menu holds the diverse flavors that Hawaii is known for. One such dish, the  
Li Hing Tomato Salad, pays homage to the local culture and the yin yang relationship that surrounds the Li Hing Mui flavor. Inspired by Alan Wong’s signature whole tomato salad, which left a lasting impression on Chef Makoto during a memorable trip to Hawaii, this dish showcases the versatility and vibrancy of Kahumana Farm tomatoes. 

Boccocino burrata, carefully handcrafted in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood, is a creamy Italian cheese that balances the tanginess of the Li Hing Mui vinaigrette, creating flavors that dance on the palate. The Li Hing dressing, a distinctively local ingredient, brings a touch of nostalgia for Makoto, reminiscent of the Japanese pickled plum, or ume. 

Arden’s approach to each dish is a celebration of the past and an exploration of the new. The salads tell a story of style and innovation, where classic flavors are reimagined and local ingredients take center stage. Chef Makoto’s vision brings together the best of both worlds, creating dishes that are relatable yet surprising, comforting yet adventurous.