The ‘House’ of the Rising SunAli Carte Columns
September 23, 2012
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Leah Friel
For tourists, it’s the perfect escape. For locals, it’s the perfect place to soak up a view we often take for granted. And for everyone involved, it’s the perfect way to start the day. Ocean House, located beachfront at Outrigger Reef Hotel, has brought casually elegant Island cuisine ashore for the past decade. With unforgettable customer service, tables that face the ocean and a Plantation-style decor theme that makes you feel as though you’ve entered yesteryear, patrons will do the most important meal of the day justice with a visit to this unique eatery.
“It’s a beautiful, relaxed setting,” says general manager David Nagaishi. “Nice Hawaiian music in the background, with the real Hawaiian music playing with the crashing waves.”
What better place, then, to welcome the day with the restaurant’s newest breakfast addition, Hawaiian Sweet Bread Stuffed French Toast ($14)? This indulgent masterpiece starts with puffy slices of sweet bread that are filled with guava jam, battered and rolled in coconut before being seared to golden perfection. As warm guava oozes out of each piece, a wonderfully nutty, custardy macadamia nut cream syrup puts a rich and creamy spin on your syrup experience, taking french toast to an entirely new level. “After that, you need to go on one of these beach chairs and relax a little while,” Nagaishi says with a laugh.
If you prefer a savory bite in the morning, try Blue Crab Cake Benedict ($16). Thick Artisan brioche toast is topped with crab patties, poached egg and a bright burst of lemon-filled hollandaise sauce. On top of that, the fresh flavor of Ocean House’s seafood shines in this dish. “It’s really nice blue crab made into thick cakes,” describes Nagaishi.
On the healthier side of breakfast options, Fresh Fruit Sunrise ($13) keeps it light without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. Seasonal fresh fruits are topped with the fluffiest of greek yogurts Ali Carte has ever tasted, only to be polished with the addition of granola and honey.
Now, make sure at least one person at the table — if not everyone — orders the “award-winning” Ocean House Loco Moco ($15). It wasn’t named Waikiki’s Best Loco Moco in the 2010 Ultimate Loco Moco Smack Down for nothing, and it earns every bit of that title. “The Loco Moco’s the one,” confirms Nagaishi. “A generous portion of white rice is topped with our house-made beef patty and we add our homemade gravy.”
The beauty of this dish is two-fold. First, you have incredible hamburger patties that taste more like gourmet steak. “We use the trimmings from our New York steak, filet mignon, rib eye and we ground our beef to make your burger.” To add to that indescribable flavor, executive chef Craig Yasaka makes a divine gravy using drippings from the beef as well as his own demi glace. When you load your fork with a touch of rice, egg, a chunk of beefy goodness and douse it all in gravy, you’ve just reached loco moco heaven. And Yasaka’s sprinkling of crispy onions doesn’t hurt either.
Ocean House’s breakfast is served daily from 7 to 11 a.m. and with a menu like that, it’s no surprise tourists and locals alike frequent these shores. “How are you going to beat this?” adds Nagaishi. “Ocean, nice surf, great food. You can’t be any closer to the beach unless you’re actually on the beach. It’s a great place to have breakfast.”
Outrigger Reef Hotel
2169 Kalia Road, Honolulu
Open daily, 7-11 a.m., breakfast 5-10 p.m., dinner