Upscale, locally inspired cuisine washes ashore at Ocean House
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Although general manager David Nagaishi has been coming to work at Ocean House in Outrigger Reef on the Beach Hotel for years, it’s clear that familiarity has not dulled his love of the place.
“When you come in, the atmosphere makes you feel very comfortable, kind of like you’re back in Old Hawaii. You hear the waves washing ashore, you witness the sun sets on the horizon and Diamond Head silhouetted by the moonlight,” Nagaishi says with a happy sigh. “Oh boy, it’s so nice.”
But when asked what really sets Ocean House apart from the rest, the first thing that comes to mind is the food. Topping the list for Nagaishi is Ginger Steamed Monchong ($33.50), which features a tender, generous portion of white fish accented with shiitake mushroom, green onion and cilantro.
“This is my favorite fish,” he says. “It has a very flavorful mild taste. It’s moist and very tender.”
Here, the dish is finished off with a sizzling hot peanut oil and a little shoyu over white rice.
“Monchong is one of the lesser-known items on the menu,” he adds. “Everyone is really into mahi mahi, ono, opakapaka or onaga, but if you haven’t had the monchong, you’ve got to try it.”
For a lighter option, opt for Curly Kale Salad ($11.50) tossed in basil papaya seed vinaigrette dressing and adorned with fresh strawberries, avocado, papaya and toasted almonds.
“It’s so delicious,” Nagaishi attests.
As a way to whet your appetite for any meal, Nagaishi recommends Seared Peppered Sea Scallops ($12.50). This starter spotlights Pacific sea scallops rolled in cracked pepper and pan-seared with soy sake garlic butter sauce and fresh mushrooms. The dish is accompanied by ciabatta bread, which Nagaishi says is perfect for mopping up the sauce.
In addition to these tempting dinner items, Ocean House serves breakfast daily.
“We have the best Eggs Benedict ($14),” Nagaishi says.
Ocean House also hosts private lunches (for up to 100 people) — the perfect venue to celebrate weddings, birthdays or other special occasions. However, because the restaurant only can accommodate one party per day, it’s best to make reservations now.
Outrigger Reef on the Beach Hotel
2169 Kalia Road, Honolulu
Daily, Breakfast: 7-11 a.m. Dinner: 5–10 p.m.