Miki Lee

Jo McGarry photo

Operations Manager
Brasserie Du Vin, Bar 35, Bambu Two

Where were you born and raised? Born in San Diego, grew up on Oahu and the Big Island.

The bars/restaurants that you oversee are all so different. Is it like having three different children? Yes! (laughs) Du Vin is the sophisticated, older, casual and very European sibling. Comfortable and elegant, Bar 35 is a big, urban bar with more than 200 beers, really knowledgeable – loud and lots of fun. Bambu Two is like our youngest child: a little younger, a little classier, lots of style.

Do you have a favorite? No! No favorite child. You can’t do that. Although, different ones suit different moods. Brasserie Du Vin is so authentic – it’s not hard to imagine yourself sitting in a French bistro. From the doorway it looks dark, but once you step across the threshold, you’re drawn to the sunlight of the patio … and people keep walking back just to see how big it is. For anyone who’s traveled to France or Italy, it really brings back good memories.

Favorite dishes on the menu? The soups are always amazing. Sometimes they’re smooth, sometimes they’re full of texture – like today, there’s a Shinsato pork soup topped with a puff pastry triangle.

Where do you like to eat when you’re not working? I like Japanese izakaya small plates. Sushi Izakaya Gaku on South King Street is wonderful – it’s like a seafood candy store.

Do you cook? I do. I make a pretty amazing roasted chicken, and my mom taught me how to make a really good lasagna.

What’s always in your fridge? I must be related to the condiment queen – every condiment you need, I have.

With whom would you most like to have dinner and a glass of champagne? Hmm … probably Julia Child. I would love to have been able to sit and chat with her. I think she would have been wonderful conversationalist, and would make me laugh.

What’s one of the more challenging things about the restaurant business? Trying to be true to your vision while also listening to customers. There are a lot of opinions out there, so being open to hearing suggestions from customers but knowing when you’re straying too far from your own vision is important.

So are customers really always right? Well, mostly the are, but more importantly they’re always welcome to share their ideas and have their thoughts heard. They can have a lot of good ideas.

Brasserie Du Vin, 1115 Bethel St.,brasserieduvin.com; Bar 35 , 35 N. Hotel St.; Bambu Two, 1144 Bethel St.