Holiday Specials Almost HereColumns Foodie Fare
December 8, 2013
Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
Ocean House vice president and general manager David Nagaishi describes a typical dining experience at the restaurant: “It is so welcoming and relaxed. And you get to listen to the waves crashing on the shore. And the next thing you know, you are smelling food going past you and the sound of corks popping, and a great night is just starting.”
At Ocean House, I would imagine that every night is a great night. Situated right on Waikiki Beach in the Outrigger Reef Hotel, the restaurant has a front-row seat to the water — and it’s got a menu to match such a stunning view. Serving up what Nagaishi calls “island cuisine,” Ocean House has a vast menu featuring fresh fish, premium meats and local vegetables.
“We do a little bit of everything,” he says.
Soon, you can catch Ocean House’s holiday specials, which run from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day.
Guests can make a meal out of the holiday specials menu, starting with a salad — Keawe House Smoked Kona Kampachi ($16), served over organic field greens with asparagus, Big Island hearts of palm and heirloom tomatoes bathed in a champagne mango vinaigrette.
“We wanted something exciting,” Nagaishi says. “And the Kampachi is a very special fish. And, of course, we are incorporating the Island vegetables.”
For the entree, treat yourself to Prime Rib and Kauai Shrimp ($55), which features succulent slow-roasted angus prime rib served with Alii mushroom cabernet demi glaze. Macadamia nut crusted Kauai prawns with sweet chili, green onion citrus aioli also dress up the dish, which is served with Maui onion and cauliflower red bliss potato hash.
“It’s like celebrating the holidays at an auntie’s house — you always have to have a roast!” he says.
Finally, finish off your holiday meal with Lilikoi Cheese Cake ($10) for dessert. It features house-made cheese cake on a short bread macadamia nut cookie crust, topped with lilikoi gelee and fresh fruits.
Even when these holiday specials are over, Ocean House will still have an exciting regular menu that includes items like the popular Ahi Carpaccio ($14.50).
“This is one of our specialty appetizers,” Nagaishi says. “It is sashimi-style tuna and it is layered over a bed of radish sprouts, Maui onion and green onion. We then sprinkle it with togarashi and a little Hawaiian sea salt. And then it is laced with sizzling hot sesame and peanut oil. And then on the side, we have a little bit of Hawaiian chili sauce. It is wonderful.”
For an entree option, Nagaishi recommends Seafood Linguine ($36.50), an aromatic dish that presents fresh, tender seafood — including lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels — all sauteed in a lobster cream sauce with fresh mushrooms and served over linguine.
“This is one of our most popular dishes,” he says, adding that it also is one of his personal favorite items.
On the Side
Ocean House manages to capture the elegance of a fine-dining establishment, while maintaining a casual atmosphere. Walking into this plantation-style restaurant will have you feeling right at home.
“When you come in, you feel like you are walking into an auntie’s house,” says vice president and general manager David Nagaishi.
That may be true — but only if your auntie happens to be an amazing chef who can whip up everything from filet mignon to a clam bake.
Ocean House serves up a lot of local ingredients — including fresh island fish and vegetables such as Waimanalo farms baby arugula, Hamakua vine ripped tomatoes and Maui onions.
“We like to incorporate a lot of local, sustainable ingredients that are healthy,” Nagaishi says. “It is good for Mother Nature.”
Contact Christina O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Outrigger Reef on the Beach Hotel
2169 Kalia Road, Honolulu
Open daily, Breakfast: 7–11 a.m. Dinner: 5–10 p.m.