One of my favorite parts of eating in Hawaii is the wide variety of unique, freshly-caught fish, like Ono, Walu, Opakapaka, and Hawaiian Swordfish. And I sure partook in all these options and will share the highlights in another chapter. But above all, I had my share of a myriad of tuna dishes.
Here are a few of the standouts. Mercury aside, they were all fresher than anything I've had comparable on the mainland!
Our hotel's Bar Menu -- Tuna tartare served over avocado topped with radish and floating in a wasabi soy broth. The fish was very tender and the flavors and textures co-mingled well. The dish did a little dance on my tongue.
At the hotel again, but this time the first course of the tasting menu at the recently opened restaurant on the property, Jean Georges' Kauai Grill. This was the best dish of the entire trip. Big-eye Ahi lightly crusted in what? served on what? I cannot recall (must have been one too many mai tais or the nice and reasonably priced Chilean red wines we had with dinner), which saddens me because the dish really was out of this world, in both the quality of the ingredients and their preparation. A note to the St. Regis, if anyone there (i.e. no one) is reading this: please put restaurant menus up online!
The final three tuna selections came from Hanalei Dolphin, a delightful, no-reservations sushi and seafood restaurant on the Hanalei River in "downtown" Hanalei.
At lunch, the restaurant's retail shop serves massive sushi rolls. Pictured here is the Dolphin Roll, which was a combination of spicy tuna with snow crab. The tuna was the freshest I've had in sushi, which was contrasted nicely with the sweetness and texture of the snow crab; the wasabi soy dipping sauce was also excellent. I loved eating lunch watching the longboarders roll down the river. B and I shared the roll and paired it with some smoothies from a walk-up stand up the street for a perfect bite on a hot day. What I also found somewhat unbelievable--given all the rumors about the supposed outrageous prices in Hawaii--was that this massive roll was only $9.
We loved the sushi so much at lunch that we came back the next night to the restaurant for dinner. And it did not disappoint. We snagged a table on the porch, ordered a few local beers, and B dug into an tender teriyaki glazed tuna steak, the house special.