Sea to table, food court-style
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Who can resist the aromas of garlic, tender clams and grilled bread slathered with garlic butter? At Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood Market in the Ala Moana Center food court, Bowl of Fresh Clams with Garlic Bread ($11.95), simmered with diced tomatoes and capers, delivers with over a dozen clams.
“It’s one of the few appe-tizers we have, and it’s also an item you would never find in a food court: fresh clams, cooked in a garlic butter sauce,” says president Marshall Sakaguchi. “It can be a whole meal by itself. I know people order the clam bowl and a scoop of rice just to soak up the rest of the juice.” You wouldn’t dare leave a drop of the intoxicating white wine and clam stock reduction behind.
Needless to say, the eatery is a haven for seafood lovers and anyone who worships fresh food. The fish served is never frozen, and Sakaguchi himself visits Aloun Farms in Kapolei to pick up just-harvested produce. “We do farm to table,” Sakaguchi explains. Sea to table, even.
“The fact that we are a seafood restaurant, we get ahi every day from auction.”
The Hawaiian staple, Seared Furikake Ahi ($11.95) features the freshest fish seasoned and seared to medium rare. The ahi receives a coating of shoyu and wasabi before it’s dredged in nori and sesame seeds. “This gives it a little extra spice and salt,” he says.
Also adding flavor to the dish is a touch of pineapple salsa made in house with red bell peppers, onion and Sambal, a spicy Southeast-Asian chile paste that’s “a thousand times” better than other hot sauces. “It has a lot more depth,” says Sak-aguchi. “It’s actually a key ingredient for a lot of our recipes.”
Lobster and Shrimp Com bination Plate ($24.95) brings together the creme de la creme of what the eatery has to offer. The ca-jun-seasoned Brazilian rock lobster is blackened on top then finished in brown butter. “We do the lobster special compared to most places. They’ll serve you a steamed lobster with butter on the side. We’re going to go through the process to cook the flavor into it,” Sakaguchi shares.
The restaurant’s namesake garlic shrimp is sautéed in a house-made garlic butter with both roasted and fresh garlic. “It’s shell-on shrimp to make sure that the shrimp keeps its size and the flavor. It’s a little hard to eat sometimes, but it’s certainly worth the mess and the hassle.”
All Blue Water’s plates come with white or brown rice, Hawaiian-grown corn on the cob, a pineapple slice and green salad or potato salad. “The potato salad is quite special,” Sakaguchi attests. It’s loaded with diced potatoes, boiled eggs, olives, crab meat and flavored with Best Foods mayo (“of course”) and garlic salt. It’s a homey, tastes-like-Mom-made-it dish because, well, it is. “We’ve had a lot of people say it’s the best one they’ve ever had. It’s a recipe we’ve had for a long time in our family and extended family.”
If all this food talk is leaving you with a feeling of FoMO (“Fear of Missing Out”), just pick up the phone and place an order for delivery. The new service is free, and there’s no minimum order. Average delivery time is 30 to 40 minutes, or you can put in your order in advance. Deliveries can be made as far as Kahala, downtown and Makiki. “Businesses, houses, we do it all,” says Sakaguchi.
Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood Market
W H E R E
Ala Moana Center, Makai Market Food Court
C A L L
H O U R S
Daily, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
and 7 p.m. Sundays
11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.;
Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.