A Restaurant that Defines Sensational SeafoodAli Carte Columns
March 9, 2014
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
Have you ever thought about what makes a dining experience truly epic? I’ll venture to say that if you’re a seafood lover like me, freshness and bold flavors that complement each piece of shrimp, fish, or whatever sea treasure it may be, are undoubtedly part of the equation. A visit to 1131 Nuuanu Avenue ensures these culinary qualifications and more, enough to prove the establishment isn’t named Restaurant Epic for nothing.
Presenting a foundation of American comfort food, Epic brings an element of surprise to the table with international pops of European and Asian flavors sprinkled throughout the menu. When it comes to the seafood department, executive chef James Menza let’s his passion do the cooking.
“I’m a big seafood fanatic,” says Menza. “Seafood’s healthy, and I’m a fisherman, so, I catch it, I eat it.”
To dive into a seafood feast of epic proportions, the chef recommends starting with Seafood Thai Curry ($16). The dish accentuates plump shrimp and mussels with a rich, golden and glowing curry made from scratch at the eatery. Tomatoes, bell peppers, lemongrass and jalapenos add bright bursts of flavor, while rice acts as an ideal accompaniment to the sauce.
From Thailand, Epic’s menu journeys to Japan in a generous portion of Misoyaki Butterfish ($24) served with furikake musubi. In addition to the smooth, caramelized flavors of the fillet, the menu item features soy choy sum and house-made coleslaw prepared with the restaurant’s secret sauce.
Next on the list of magnificent musts is a San Francisco-inspired Seafood Cioppino Linguini ($23), which Menza describes as his take on the classic stew. “If you love seafood, this is what you want right here. It has fresh fish, sauteed scallops and shrimp, along with steamed clams and a little pinch of crab,” he explains. Long strips of linguini round out the dish and are perfect for picking up every last drop of the seafood-infused tomato sauce, which takes about three hours to cook.
And Menza’s personal favorite? Spicy Ahi Roll ($10) takes the “crab cake” with its auction-fresh ahi rolled into sizeable bites, complete with a nice kick and drizzles of kabayaki and sweet chili aioli sauces.
And with that, the definition of epic — at least when it comes to seafood — is clearly defined.
1131 Nuuanu Ave., Honolulu
Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 4:30-8:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 4:30-10 p.m.