Joining us again today is guest blogger Tony Kawaguchi, a Honolulu resident who usually blogs about Hawaii Real Estate at www.AlohaTony.com.
Blue Ocean Thai Restaurant
By Tony Kawaguchi
A few months ago, a friend of mine had told me about Oahu’s first truly authentic Thai restaurant, Blue Ocean. I was confused, since I had been eating Thai food in Oahu for a long time, but since she was born and raised in Thailand, I had to believe her. According to her, all the other Thai restaurants on Oahu actually use Laotian recipes and cooks. So of course I was anxious to see what the difference would be between other Thai food and Blue Ocean’s “authentic” version.
When we entered Blue Ocean, we were surprised first of all to see how nice it is inside. The classy tables and place settings were of much higher quality than in other Thai restaurants. High in style, but not too high in price, thank goodness!
The place was empty, I guess because it was a Monday night, and also because it’s a pretty new restaurant. I would think in that area the daytime business is better anyway.
It’s just off Ala Moana Blvd. before it turns into Nimitz, across from the old Comp USA. Lots of business down there, but not much foot traffic since Comp USA closed.
Since we had five people in our party, we chose the largest appetizer, the Blue Ocean Treasure, with traditional Thai chicken satay, steamed tulip, crispy rolls, shrimp in the blanket, Thai dumpling, and Somtum salad. This was a great sampling for us to start with. The chicken was tender inside, crispy on the outside, and the perfect amount of juiciness. Delicious!
The shrimp was great too. Nice and plump and not chewy, which means it’s fresh!
Warning – the salad is the spiciest thing I have eaten in years. It has chopped Thai chilis in it, and it will burn your mouth like there is no tomorrow. Wow!
My father-in-law had lived in Thailand for a while, so he was very excited to try everything to see how authentic it was. He was pretty impressed with this Tom Yum Soup with shrimp, a traditional Thai lemon grass soup with coconut milk, galangal, mushrooms, and basil. We all really enjoyed this soup, which was creamy but not heavy, with just enough coconut to make it milky. For only $10.95, the large bowl was enough for all five of us to have soup with leftovers. Excellent soup with a lot of shrimp, my father-in-law was pleased!
Next came the Shrimp Pad Thai for $12.95. Now what I’m about to say could get me in a lot of trouble. I’m putting my credibility on the line, but here goes – This is the BEST Pad Thai I have EVER had in my life!
It’s the perfect soft melt in your mouth goodness you hope for from Pad Thai, without the heaviness, and without too much saltiness. Sweeter than other Pad Thai, and a lot more tender. The noodles are cooked to perfection, as soft as I’ve ever had. I actually ordered an extra plate of it to bring home to my neighbors, because I wanted them to try it. If you like Pad Thai, you must go try it at Blue Ocean. Amazing!
This is the Pineapple fried rice with chicken for $10.95. It’s made with jasmine rice, pineapples, eggs, onion, snow peas, carrots, and broccoli. It has a lighter flavor than Japanese or Hawaiian style fried rice, which probably means way less shoyu. The flavor is still marvelous, which is why this was my father in law’s favorite dish. Try it with some of their traditional Thai spices (next pic) and you can make some great combinations.
Everything at Blue Ocean seems to be prepared with a little less oil and butter than the Thai food I’m used to, which may be part of what makes it so great. You can hide mediocre cooking with lots of butter, but to make something taste great without a ton of heavy sauces and over salting takes a lot of skill. The cooks here have some serious skills.
You can’t eat Thai food without eating curry, so we ordered the Red Curry with chicken for $10.95. Again a pretty large portion that could feed a few people, and a spicy full flavor that was rich and tangy at the same time. Prepared with green beans, bell peppers, bamboo shoots, and jasmine rice, it’s a wonderful curry that is a perfect Thai staple.
Our server recommended our final dish, the Thai Basil and Chili with beef for $10.95. With fried onions, green beans, and basil chili sauce, it was my least favorite dish, but still a solid effort. Not as interesting or as creative as their other dishes, but good none-the-less.
The service was friendly, and the atmosphere was higher class than we expected, so combined with the fantastic food, we were all very pleased with Blue Ocean Thai. In my humble opinion, it may be the best Thai food on Oahu.
5 Spam Musubi Rating!
Blue Ocean Thai Restaurant
327 Keawe St. (next to the former Comp USA)
The Tasty Island Rating:
(5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits or purchases. (Broke Da’ Mout’!)