The duck with Chinese five-spice remains an unqualified hit—pan seared to medium rare and swirling in a balanced reduction spiced with cinnamon, fennel, star anise, cloves, and Szechuan peppercorns. And much as I like the duck, I’d order it just for the accompanying risotto—buds of short-grain rice in a thick broth with almost over-the-top richness provided by duck confit. The only beef entree, a small strip steak from naturally raised cattle, was straightforward—expertly grilled and served with an unfussy wasabi-peppercorn sauce and potato puree. A more delicate old favorite is the sablefish, a small Pacific whitefish with a mild flavor. Here it is pan roasted and served with a tangy tamarind-soy sauce. The bottom line on the sablefish pretty much sums up the best aspects of all of Pacific Rim’s food: it’s interesting and filling but at the same time light and healthy. You don’t feel the need to do penance after a meal.
You could tip the wholesomeness canoe with a warm chocolate cake, which, the waiters will remind you at the beginning of every meal, will take twenty minutes to prepare. It’s worth the wait for warm dark chocolate, homemade coconut ice cream, and booze-soaked cherries. Yet the classic ginger tea, a recipe passed down from Kana’s founders, is still my favorite way to end a meal here.