The Binchotan Bar & Grill is the newest restaurant to be opened within the popular Big Island resort of The Fairmont Orchid. This latest dining option opened at the end of 2019 as the result of a multi-million dollar renovation of the previous on-site restaurant, Norio’s Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar. The place still has that crispy newness about it, making it a good choice for those seeking a modern, five-star dining experience.
This latest Fairmont Orchid restaurant has a lot in common with that predecessor of Norio’s Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar, at least when it comes to menu items as it too features Asian cuisine, including signature Japanese dishes and premium sake. The owners of the restaurant like to call it a “fresh take on Asian cuisine”, and have ensured that those partaking in the meals do so in a comfortable, contemporary gathering space.
Binchotan Bar & Grill is modern in design with wood and marbled furnishings paired with bold metallic accents. There is a spacious and comfortable interior dining room, but the best seats in the house are those on the restaurant’s expansive back patio. This large patio pulls out from the resort and restaurant’s main building and lies surrounded on three sides by Fairmont Orchid’s tropical landscaping. Choose one of the tables lining the western side to enjoy unimpeded views of the beachfront. In keeping in line with the Asian theme of the restaurant, you will find a lovely little koi pond teeming with tropical fishes along one side.
The specialty of the Binchotan Bar & Grill is combining Japanese culinary techniques with fresh Hawaiian seafood, premier beef, and locally sourced produce. The heart of the menu here relies on what is called robatayaki cooking, a special type of traditional Japanese grilling. In other words, grilled items take precedence and you will find most of the main menu is served or can be served tapas-style atop small plates designed to be passed around and shared amongst the dining party.
Popular shared menu items include:
Smoked Pork Belly
This small plate menu item comes grilled on the robata and is served with a sesame red miso.
Think massive shrimp lightly grilled on the robata and served drizzled in lightly salted yuzu butter.
If you are looking for a big Japanese grilled culinary experience, ask about the Robatayaki Experience. The Binchotan Bar & Grill offers two types of dishes for this experience. You can either choose the Traditional which features ribeye, chicken, prawns, mahi-mahi, mushrooms, and asparagus or you can opt for a full Seafood experience that features lobster, and tuna, prawns, mahi-mahi, salmon, and asparagus. Both the Traditional and the Seafood Robatayaki Experience come served to your table atop a classic robata grill and alongside an assortment of sauces, seasonings, and rice. This is a fantastic order, but it is a touch expensive and made to be shared.
Diners also have plenty of beverage options to choose to pair their meals with. The three brands of saki on-site are Umeshu, Nigori, and Junmai Ginjo, but you will also find a long list of more traditional red and white wines served by the bottle and glass; and a few choices of bottled beers. A shortlist of unique signature cocktails like the Wasabarita, which boasts a wasabi-infused tequila, nicely rounds out their extensive beverage list.
-Preference seating at Bichotan Bar & Grill is given to guests of The Fairmont Orchid resort. This is most apparent during peak lunch and dinner hours, especially on the weekends. Non-guests can try and call in a reservation during these times, but be prepared to get wait-listed. Thus, the best time for non-guests of the resort to come is during the weekdays or show up as a walk-in during non-peak weekend hours.
-If you have some extra time to spend before or after your meal at Binchotan Bar & Grill, consider walking north along the beach and inspecting the nearby Holoholokai Beach Park and Malama Trail leading into Puako Petroglyph Park.