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Love Seafood? Dive Right In!

Ono, You Know

October 15, 2017

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

In honor of National Seafood Month, the editor is ready to make a splash with Fairwood Drive Inn & Pho 27 Cafe’s Baked Seafood extravaganza.

We are smack-dab in the middle of National Seafood Month, and I am as ready as ever to celebrate it to the fullest with all of my fellow seafood-lovers out there.

We all know when a craving hits for those tasty treasures sourced from the deep blue sea, there’s no amount of chicken, beef or pork that can substitute for those salt-water yearnings. Whether your mouth waters for poke, a feast of shellfish or a steamed fillet, there’s simply no getting around it — only a fresh bite of the real stuff will do.

Ono, You Know is taking that idea to the max this week by encouraging you to fully fulfill your wildest seafood fantasies. I’m not just going to give you one type of fish to bite into, but rather an ocean’s worth of indulgences, all on one plate. And for this kind of meal, scarfing is fully recommended. So don’t hold back with these seafood medleys:

Under the sea

You never know when a strong craving will hit. For me, my latest seafood hankering was sparked by a recent conversation with Tiffany Ko, owner of Fairwood Drive Inn & Pho 27 Cafe. She told me about a popular Baked Seafood ($13.95) she’s had on the menu for some time, and I knew it had to be mine.

Fairwood Drive Inn & Pho 27 Cafe’s Baked Seafood ($13.95)

Ko promised me a dish of epic proportions, and boy was she right. This casserole-style creation looks big enough to share, but as she pointed out, most people end up eating the whole thing by themselves. That way, they can soak up every morsel of shrimp, mussels, squid and imitation crab baked to perfection with an array of veggies in a thick-and-creamy cheesy coating. Talk about comfort food!

Ko says she can customize the dish for patrons as well, as they can request extra seafood goodies inside (for an additional fee). It also comes with a choice of spaghetti or fried rice as the base of the dish. Ko serves up Baked Seafood at the Pho 27 Cafe side of the eatery, which offers a dine-in menu inspired by cafe dining in Hong Kong. (It also is available for takeout, but please allow for extra time, as it’s baked to order.)

And for those looking for some seafood on the go, stop by Fairwood Drive Inn’s takeout counter, also inside the restaurant, for the new Saba Fish and Chicken Katsu Combo special, currently offered at 10 percent off the regular price of $11.95.

Reeling in the good stuff

After getting one delicious seafood dish under my belt, I was still yearning for more. So I ventured to a spot where I could feel like a kid in a candy store, marveling at all the fresh fish options on the menu.

Uncle’s Seafood Grill ($30)

That place is Uncle’s Fish Market & Grill, located next to Honolulu Fish Auction and founded by veteran fisherman Bruce Johnson.

With access to fresh seafood on a daily basis, including many local catches, the restaurant offers up a first-class array of stellar poke, sashimi, the best in cooked and steamed fillets, as well as other classics, from fish and chips to fresh oysters, crab cakes and more.

On my recent visit, I ordered the Seafood Grill ($30) to capture that feeling of reveling in a true seafood feast. In addition to tender, local mahi mahi, this plate is piled high with two jumbo — and I mean jumbo — shrimp, as well as plump, wild diver scallops that come in fresh from the mainland. These flavors are given an upscale touch with a dousing of buttery dill, mushroom and garlic sauce, but they’re also given some down-home flair with a rustic char from the grill.

“This dish has grown in popularity,” says executive chef Geoff Arakawa. “People look at it and say, ‘Wow, that’s something different!'”

They’re right about that. And really, a seafood-enthusiast can’t go wrong at Uncle’s with its emphasis on ocean-sourced bites.