Superb SeafoodCover Story
April 7, 2019
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
Diners will quickly discover go-to favorites throughout the locally influenced menu at Waiolu Ocean Cuisine, which features the freshest seafood available from around the Pacific Rim.
By retooling its menu to offer the freshest “surf” selections and ample “turf” choices, and infusing the delectable dishes with local flavors, Waiolu Ocean Cuisine has created an inviting family-friendly destination complete with a picturesque view of Waikiki.
Situated in the Trump International Hotel Waikiki on the bustling Waikiki Beach Walk, the restaurant features an open-air dining concept with a casual-yet-sophisticated vibe complete with a full bar, comfortable seating and plenty of space in which to enjoy the stellar menu items. Executive chef Shoji Namatame and his culinary team recently revamped the restaurant’s menu to showcase multiple varieties of seafood, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We have brought in three new varieties of fish from Japan to complement the local fresh catches to give our diners additional options,” Namatame says. “Our guests view Hawaii as a seafood destination, so we’re able to feature the freshest choices prepared in the local style that really makes our menu unique.”
From the “Raw Bar,” diners can choose from multiple selections of Oysters ($18 for six), including Kumamoto and Shigoku varieties as well as Kusshi and Fat Bastard oysters from Washington state that are accompanied by ponzu, mignonette and cocktail sauce. Namatame explains that the Kusshi oyster offers a creamy, lightly briny taste, while the Fat Bastard oysters, which are large versions of Shigoku, boast plenty of meat and rich flavor.
The restaurant also features a fresh sushi bar, which is open from 5 p.m. to closing. Crawling Spider Roll ($24) is nearly as beautiful as it is flavorful — the roll is built with Alaskan king crab, soft shell crab, cucumber, avocado, yamagobo and tobiko.
Namatame and his team procure the freshest fish available, and the resulting Day Boat Catch (market price) can be prepared to the guests’ liking, including steamed with cilantro, ginger, green onion and shoyu, grilled, or crispy with a ponzu and lemon sauce.
“We offer exceptional value for the quality of food that we serve, and there are so many ways to customize your meal through various preparation styles and techniques,” says Namatame. “While our main focus is on seafood, we also offer everything from steak to lamb.”
Seafood Bouillabaisse for Two ($99) is an incredible collection of delicious seafood favorites all in one massive bowl. Guests can look forward to whole Maine lobster, king crab legs, langoustine, Pacific shrimp, black mussels, Manila clams, scallops and calamari, all within a rich tomato-lemon-grass broth.
Chermoula Marinated Lamb Chops ($24) are crafted with a Mediterranean influence in mind as two succulent lamb chops are prepared in an alluring balsamic vinegar, cilantro, garlic, ginger, lemon and red wine reduction.
In addition to incredible flavor and value provided at Waiolu Ocean Cuisine, guests are also treated to complimentary four-hour valet parking with validation — a rarity in Waikiki.
SETTING THE BAR
Waiolu Ocean Cuisine features an expansive full bar bookended by high-definition televisions, and complete with beer, wine, spirits, specialty cocktails and even sake. The bar features a labradorite stone countertop imported from Madagascar, and the polished surface re˛ ects rich shades of blue, green, violet, gold and gray to mimic the colors of the Pacific Ocean. While settling down to order a favorite beverage including something from the extensive wine list, be sure to pair it with a Cheese & Charcuterie Board ($32, cra˝ ed for two guests) with chef’s assorted selection of domestic and international cheeses, cured meats, fresh berries and crackers.
GET HAPPY WITH HAPPY HOUR
With both Sunset (3-6 p.m.) and Late Night (9-10:30 p.m.) Happy Hours available daily, Waiolu Ocean Cuisine offers incredible value for guests on some of its most popular food and beverage options. Select specialty cocktails — including Bellows Beach House with Soho lychee liqueur, lychee puree, rock candy syrup and lemon juice — are available during the Late Night Happy Hour for just $12 each. The restaurant also offers live entertainment Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.