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Where Fresh Fish and a Family-Friendly Experience Rule

Features Inside Feature

December 24, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

At Uncle’s Fish Market & Grill, it’s all about fresh fish and family. The eatery, which first opened in July 2007, sports a cozy, homey and authentic atmosphere on Pier 38 waterfront, where numerous photos and old fishing gear surround the interior. Besides its family-inspired decor and atmosphere, the restaurant is known for its fresh fish.

  • Executive chef Geoffrey Arakawa with Uncle's famous Ahi Poke Tower.
  • Poke on the Pier ($17.95)
  • Auction on the Block ($15.95)
  • Ahi Poke Tower ($15.95)
  • Fresh Opakapaka with Crab Meat ($25.95)
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“The restaurant was made as a tribute to all those uncles in everyone’s life here in Hawaii, and the old fisherman uncles, too,” explains restaurant manager Sean Simpson. “The motivation for starting Uncle’s was a tribute to our fishing history and our fishing culture here in Hawaii.

“Uncle’s is located on Pier 38, which also is where the Honolulu Fish Auction takes place, six days a week,” he adds.

“At the restaurant, the real focus is on the freshness of fish and we’re able to highlight that because the auction is right there.”

It’s no surprise that when it comes to the eatery’s most popular menu items, the fresh fish dishes are the frequent choice. The Opakapaka Fresh Fish Plate (market price), topped with crab meat and served with white or brown rice and french fries, is a customer favorite. Another is Uncle’s Famous Garlic Ahi ($17.95), sauteed and topped with green chilis and capers, and drizzled with Uncle’s mild spicy soy sauce and green onions.

“Uncle’s Garlic Ahi is a sashimi-grade cut of the fish,” explains Simpson. “We usually recommend that people get it medium rare and it really highlights the quality of the fish. There’s no need for too much seasoning; it’s perfectly good seared. It’s almost like sashimi with a little bit of sauce on top.”

Other customer favorites include the Fresh Ahi Belly ($14.95), sauteed with a citrus soy sauce.

“We do it (the Fresh Ahi Belly) a little differently,” says Simpson. “Instead of it being deep-fried, it has a citrus shoyu sauce on top and it’s slow cooked, so it’s really, really tender and soft, so people like that.”

When it comes to Uncle’s signature dish, Simpson is quick to note the Fresh Ahi Belly as well as Uncle’s Signature Ahi Poke Tower ($15.95), a tower of sashimi-grade poke layered with guacamole and ahi tartar, topped with tobiko on a bed of rice and nori and served with tortilla chips.

In addition to its lunch and dinner menus, Uncle’s Fish Market & Grill provides a diverse sushi menu, complete with unique names and combinations. The sushi menu is now available to customers Thursday through Sunday.

“We’ve had sushi at Uncle’s for a couple of years, but it was only on Thursday nights (before),” shares Simpson. “But we really developed the sushi menu in the past six months and made it a regularly featured item.”

The sushi menu at Uncle’s includes several different specialty rolls, of which the most popular include Poke on the Pier ($17.95) and Auction on the Block ($15.95). Auction on the Block features a crispy shrimp tempura, snow crab and kai-ware roll topped with spicy tuna and avocado, while Poke on the Pier is a snow crab, avocado and cucumber roll topped with sashimi-grade ahi, fried ogo and kukui poke sauce.

“Poke on the Pier is a personal favorite of mine,” Simpson says.

Uncle’s Fish Market & Grill features different weekly specials, but to prepare for New Year’s festivities, Simpson emphasizes the eatery’s sashimi party platters, available to customers who are planning gatherings of any sort.

“We have a large party platter and a small party platter,” he says. “We do that normally under our catering services, but this is a special deal. The small sashimi platter is $65 and it comes with 80 pieces of sashimi. The large platter is $85 and comes with 100 pieces of sashimi and 6 ounces of poke as well.”

Uncle’s Fish Market & Grill

  • Where
    • Waterfront at Pier 38
    • 1135 North Nimitz Highway
    • Honolulu, HI 96817
  • Call
    • (808) 275-0063
  • Hours
    • Tuesday – Sunday
    • 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Lunch and dinner)
    • Mondays
    • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Lunch)
  • Website