Hawaii's next culinary generation knows there's more than just mahimahi in the sea, and this young brigade of Pac-Rim masters is serving specimens you've never tasted before.
THE CHEF Wayne Hirabayashi
THE PLACE Cabanas Seaside Grill at Oahu's Kahala Mandarin Oriental (5000 Kahala Ave.; 808/739-8770; dinner for two $100)
THE FISH Striped weke (goatfish)—moist, fleshy, and named for its whiskers
THE DISH Grilled and poached in lobster broth
THE CHEF Bradley Czajka
THE PLACE The Dining Room at the Lodge at Koele, in Lanai (1 Keomoku Hwy.; 808/565-4580; dinner for two $150)
THE FISH Sushi-worthy onaga (red snapper)
THE DISH Dusted in fennel pollen and served over scallop-and-portobello cannelloni
THE CHEF Junior Ulep
THE PLACE CanoeHouse at the Mauna Lani Resort (68-1400 Mauna Lani Dr.; 808/885-6622; dinner for two $140)
THE FISH Rich and juicy opah (moonfish); the back fillets are the best cut
THE DISH Grilled with a sake-miso marinade
After training with leading chefs in both London and New York City, chef Sandy Tuason brings his experience to the Pacific Rim cuisine served at this oceanfront restaurant. The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows hosts the eatery, which has ocean views on the open-air gazebo. The dishes on the restaurant's dinner-only menu have an emphasis on island ingredients and local farms. Starters include the chilled kumamoto oysters with caviar, while entrées range from the mahi mahi with fern shoots and relish to the prime strip loin, served with roasted potatoes.
Cabanas Seaside Grill
The Dining Room at the Lodge at Koele
In Hawaii, going to a formal dining room doesn’t always mean dressing up; attire is resort casual at this 44-seat, dinner-only restaurant. Warm-toned walls, a large chandelier, and a picture window overlooking the resort surround the square tables inside. While European influences are present, the island has a sway on the choices, including the black pepper crusted Hawaiian ahi, served with green pea coulis. The chef’s menu has five courses, varies by the season, and includes dishes like the big island wild boar loin, served with mushrooms and a Hawaiian chocolate sauce.