With an open air view of Waikiki Beach, casual, yet romantic, elegant dining, and fantastic Island cuisine on the menu, we headed on over for a sunset dinner at the Ocean House Restaurant.
This here is actually our second visit within just a few months, as we enjoyed it so much the first time, we came back for an encore!
The plantation home decor and open air atmosphere feels casual, cozy and romantic. The latter thanks to the beachfront location and quiet mood afforded by the guests. No “shoutfests” here.
They’re situated just steps from Waikiki beach, providing unobstructed panoramic views…
Like any oceanfront dining experience, it’s best to be seated during sunset…
View of Waikiki sunset from our beach front table
With location and atmosphere so far scoring 100%, let’s get to the food!
The selections on the appetizer menu titled “Pupu Specialties” include Island Style Sashimi ($13), Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant Crostini ($9), Baked Seafood Dynamite ($12), Ahi and Maui Onion Tartare ($11), Escargot in Puff Pastry ($10), Coconut Lobster Skewers ($13), Seared Pepper Sea Scallops ($10) and Spare Ribs Kahala ($10).
This time around I chose the Escargot in Puff Pastry…
This was an interesting twist on the dish, especially if you’re used to the drawn butter, served-in-the-shell version. Aside of it being a bit salty by nature, the melted, buttery brie cheese really punched out the earthy tones of the Escargot and mushrooms. What really made this dish exceptional was that flaky puff pastry “bun”, which added such a fantastic texture contrast. I just wish there were more of it to sop-up all that buttery, cheesy goodness.
Sopping up sauces actually is all covered, as you’re provided with their complimentary, house-made Sourdough bread…
Complimentary Sourdough Bread and Butter
Served hot out of the oven, their Sourdough bread is chewy on the inside, hard and crusty on the outside, with that distinctive sourdough flavor and fantastic overall execution. This is excellent bread. In fact, easy to get stuffed on if you’re not careful!
Back to the Pupus, the first time here, we ordered the Spare Ribs Kahala, which were also fantastic. They’re served drenched in a “Maui Gold Pineapple Barbecue Sauce”, which basically a sweet and sour sauce. They’re fall-off-the-bones tender and have a nice, smokey, grilled flavor.
Our neighboring table ordered the Coconut Lobster Skewers…
Coconut Lobster Skewers, $13
We thought about ordering that, but since we already had a seafood dish in mind for an entree, went with the Escargot instead.
My girlfriend doesn’t care for Escargot (Ha ha… more for me!), so this time around she went the Maui Onion and Tomato Salad…
This dish is all about simplicity using the highest quality, freshest ingredients. One thing you can’t fool anyone by, is substituting a Maui Onion with any other onion. There’s no denying that sweet, smooth flavor, rather mild “bite” and soft texture. Being a prominent component of this dish, served in two massive slices, it’s gotta’ be right. These were right. “Maui Onion right”. That, along with the slight acidity of the tomatoes and Balsamic Vinaigrette – the dressing a triumph itself – is so delicious. That could have been the dish alone, yet adding to the party were those fresh Mesclun greens, pungent Gorgonzola and light and crispy fried noodle topping for added texture that rounded it all out, completing all layers in a fantastic, simple way.
Other salads on the menu included the Ocean House Salad ($7), Classic Caesar ($8) and Sonoma Goat Cheese Salad ($11).
Now for the entree. As mentioned earlier, we both had fish in mind, but my girlfriend changed her mind last-minute and went with the “Hawaiian Salt” Slow-Roasted Prime Rib Au Jus from their “Electric Imu”…
She requested that they “Pulehu” it for an added char-grilled flavor boost, which they did as you can see by the sear marks. According to the menu it’s served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, but she opted for rice. True local girl. lol
Of course I had to sample a bite “for research purposes”, and must say, you KNOW this is PRIME beef. Medium-rare, yet tender enough to cut with my fork. Honestly. It could have actually used a little more Hawaiian Salt, but the herb seasonings was nice. Certainly highly recommended for any Prime Rib connoisseur.
As seen earlier, I ordered the Pan Seared Kona Kampachi…
This is actually the same dish my girlfriend ordered on our first visit here. I loved it so much, I ordered it this time! The Shoyu and Ginger Vinaigrette pack a powerful punch to the seared skin-side crust, protecting a delicate and moist white-fleshed, mild-flavored meat that I’d say falls somewhere between Ono and Mahimahi as the best way to describe it. It would be a crime to overcook this fish (or any fish for that matter), and fortunately the Ocean House kitchen are masters at this craft, making this the third plate we’ve had from them that continues to reflect perfection. The rice and asparagus weren’t anything to write home or here about, but at least to say it was cooked properly, and worked well as a back-up band to a fantastic lead singer in that Kampachi. Overall, awesome!
On our first visit, I ordered Parmesan Crusted Opah Picatta, which was served with caper wine lemon butter sauce and Maui onion mashed potatoes for $27. That was also awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome. I’d easily order that again as well.
Other Hawaiian fresh fish entrees include Grilled Salmon ($26), Crab-Stuffed Mahi Mahi ($27), Hapu’upu’u ($28) and Garlic Ahi Steak ($26).
Other menu items include everything from chicken, steaks, and stir fry, to Shrimp Scampi and Bouillabaisse.
This second visit was actually to celebrate my birthday, to which a chocolate cake dessert was kindly brought to our table, compliments of the house…
Big mahalo to Ocean House GM David Nagaishi, who was so kind to us on both our visits. Being a restaurant in a hotel, he said it’s always refreshing to see locals come in and enjoy. He spent time talking with us about the place and just life in general. Really nice guy. Our server and staff was also very attentive, keeping our water filled, table cleared and skillfully monitoring when we needed or didn’t need anything.
Our tab came out to about $90 (before tip) which included everything, including 1 round of drinks. Thankfully, because of the location and the excellence in all aspects of our experience here, the price of admission is well worth it.
They’re obviously doing something right at Ocean House Restaurant. So much so that we can’t wait to find another reason to celebrate here and try more items on the menu!
Of course, none of the write-up or photos in this post, or any other post doing justice to the real deal of being there.
So if you’re looking for a romantic and elegant, yet casual dining experience to share with someone, with excellent Pacific Rim Cuisine, and a priceless view of Waikiki beach, consider a sunset dinner at the Ocean House.
Ocean House Restaurant
Outrigger Reef Hotel
2169 Kalia Road (next to Halekulani, at the makai end of Lewers)
$5 valet parking
The Tasty Island Rating:
Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)
• Ocean House Serves Savory Seafood in Idyllic Setting – Honolulu Star Bulletin
• Romantic Setting Awaits Islanders – Honolulu Advertiser