Making A Splash At Ko OlinaCover Story
April 21, 2019
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
Mina’s Fish House offers an ocean-front experience that combines the flavors and ingredients of Hawaii with the culinary expertise of Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina in a breathtaking open-air setting at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. The outside dining area offers unobstructed views of the nearby pool and picturesque lagoon, and amid the light breezes, guests can also catch a glimpse of the setting sun and, on a clear night, stars shining bright as they enjoy the memorable dining experience.
Appropriately, what are believed to be the world’s only fish sommeliers, Ryan Houser and Saui Matagiese, bring a wealth of expertise to each fresh-caught dish, and help guests decide how to pair the ideal fish with each meal — much like a wine sommelier does with vino.
“The original concept came from my friend Jared Chang who started as a busser, and planted the idea with Chef Mina,” recalls Houser. “After sharing his knowledge as an avid fisherman, Jared encouraged me to apply for this position, and I came aboard in December. I never imagined myself working in this role at a restaurant, and I get to help guests with, and talk about, fish!
“I’m very passionate about fish — I started fishing when I was young to connect with my grandfather. I also took an interest in spearfishing and diving, and learned to care for the land and sea, and respect the beauty and history of Hawaii. A lot of people get intimidated by a wide selection of unfamiliar fish, so I help them relate to the type of dish they prefer, and what preparation style appeals to them.”
One of the heralded presentation styles is the Ginger and Scallion-Broiled Whole Fish featuring Kona Kampachi ($190 for whole fish, serves four). The superb fresh catch is served on a bed of bok choy, mushrooms, Chinese black bean and garlic fried rice that brings out the buttery flavor of the fish.
Executive Chef Garrick Mendoza made his way from top-tier restaurants in New York City and New Mexico to Hawaii in late 2017 and developed the menu with a line-to-table concept around whole fish.
“We try to keep the approach to our menu as line-to table, as possible through our relationships with vendors to allow the local suppliers to bring us fresh fish,” says Mendoza. “The bounty that comes from the ocean here has provided a wealth of knowledge, and for me, the richness allows me to learn more and indulge in the cuisine of Hawaii.”
Marinated Hass Avocado Salad ($19) introduces a fresh start to one’s meal, as the creamy avocado is accompanied by pickled vegetables, fried walnuts, crispy kataifiand a zesty Jalapeno Schug dressing.
Char-Broiled Shellfish ($110 for the petit, char-broiled platter) features Kona Lobster, King Crab, Shrimp and Pacific Oysters that are brushed with miso butter, garlic and yuzukosho. The ono seafood can also be ordered and served ice cold, and as a la carte appetizers (prices vary by selection and preparation style).
Mina’s Lobster Pot Pie ($95) is baked to perfection with a fluffy, golden-brown sea salt-dusted crust and includes succulent lobster, bran-died truffle cream and baby root vegetables.
SPECIALTY COCKTAILS ABOUND
Mina’s Fish House is also home to an array of specialty cocktails and hand-crafted drinks, including the iconic If Can, Can ($18).
This unique take on the mai tai includes one’s choice of spirit with Orange Curacao, pineapple, lilikoi, lime and orgeat. Lost at Sea ($32 for two diners, $58 for four guests) is nearly as beautiful as it is tasty as the beverage includes Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, Barbados Rum, black tea, mango, cinnamon and Tiki bitters.
HAPPY HOUR DELIGHTS FOUND HERE
Mina’s Fish House offers Happy Hour specials daily at the restaurant and bar from 3 to 5 p.m. During happy hour, guests can enjoy $5 draft beers, select wine by the glass ($6) or bottle ($30) and the aforementioned Lost at Sea specialty cocktail for just $18 (two people) or $36 (for four guests). Diners can also enjoy discounted food items including Ahi Tuna & Nairagi Poke with Chili Dusted Crispy Rice and Kukui Nut ($11) and shareable snacks the likes of Duck Fat Fries with a Trio of Sauces ($9, or three shareable snacks for $24).