Senia is arguably one of the most hotly anticipated restaurants to open in Honolulu this year.
And I had the opportunity to get a divine preview taste — in San Francisco, of all places.
Transporting a taste of the islands to the city by the Bay makes perfect sense when you realize that Co-Executive Chef Chris Kajioka has strong ties to the Bay Area. He worked at the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco under the tutelage of Ron Siegel, as well as at Thomas Keller’s Per Se. He also cooked at San Francisco’s Aziza, and helped open its sister restaurant, Mourad.
It was at Per Se that he met his British-born Co-Executive Chef Anthony Rush, who also had worked at the French Laundry. Not to mention, Senia’s pastry chef, Mimi Mendoza, just left that position at Chez T.J. in Mountain View. Moreover, one of Senia’s main investors lives in San Francisco.
So while Senia is being constructed in Honolulu’s Chinatown, right next door to the popular Pig & The Lady, the chefs took the time to host an invitation-only pop-up dinner at the Naked Kitchen in the Mission District. The private event space is inside a Victorian whose first floor has been transformed into a souped-up professional kitchen with long tables spanning through the dining room and living room.