At Mahina & Sun’s, chef Ed Kenney’s new Waikiki restaurant, the mantra is “local first, organic whenever possible, and aloha always.” This means the restaurant has an ever-changing menu based on what’s available, and the menu only features sustainably-caught fish—there’s no imported seafood on the menu.
On a recent weekend, we enjoyed a communal dinner with Honolulu locals, where the stars of the show were Oahu oysters, local whole snapper, and Hawaiian rum. Re-create a version of the meal, which is based on the restaurant’s iconic Family Feast menu, with the recipes featured below.
To Drink: Unkle’s Punch and Inigo Montoya Cocktail
Kick off festivities with a few tropical cocktails, like Mahina & Sun’s Unkle’s Punch and a cocktail the restaurant’s named the Inigo Montoya.
Serve Chef Ed Kenney’s signature drink, Unkle’s Punch, which includes Ko Hana Agricole rum, a single-batch rum crafted on the island that’s produced using hand-harvested heirloom sugar cane varieties that are hand harvested. For vodka drinkers, offer a refreshing cooler, the Inigo Montoya, that’s made with fresh citrus and a lemongrass simple syrup.
Oysters on the Half Shell
Pair the drinks with nature’s best finger food, oysters on the half shell. At Mahina & Sun’s, the menu features Pacific Saltwater oysters from Kauloa Ranch, a 4,000-acre private nature reserve, but you can serve any oyster local to you, as long as it’s ultra fresh. (Not sure how to serve them? Learn the easiest way to shuck oysters.)
Poke, an iconic seafood dish of the islands, is having a major moment across American right now. Chef Kenney’s colorful take on it illustrates his focus on sustainability: Since the tuna that’s so popular in traditional poke is being overfished, his plant-based version showcases local vegetables instead. This dish—which includes roasted beets, pickled seaweed, wasabi avocado, macadamias, shaved onions and raw beets—has a symphony of flavors and textures so interesting, you won’t miss the fish.
At the restaurant, this colorful salad is prepared with pohole, an edible fern that’s used in Hawaiian cuisine, but if you can’t track down fiddlehead ferns, the chef suggests swapping in haricots verts (slender green beans) to create a version that’s different but just as delicious.
In the restaurant, this dish is actually prepared with ‘ulu (also known as breadfruit), a nutrient-rich tropical fruit that’s been eaten in Hawaii for centuries. But ‘ulu has a potato-like consistency once cooked, so you can substitute waxy potatoes, and it’ll be just as delicious, thanks to the chile pepper aioli, which adds creaminess and a wallop of heat. (Save any leftover aioli to use with other vegetables or sautéed shrimp.)
Make the meal’s pièce de résistance a whole snapper that’s been grilled and served with three sauces. While the recipe may sound involved, the three sauces that accompany this dish—ponzu, curry aioli and cilantro chutney—come together really easily and can be made in advance.
Serve the fish with a side of hapa rice. Hapa, which literally means “mixed” or “half” in Hawaiian, is used to refer to islanders with a mixed ethnic heritage, and “hapa rice” is the name many Hawaiians use for a medley of brown and white rice.
Guests at dinner ended their meal with this amazing salted macadamia nut pavlova, a popular Mahina & Sun’s dessert. At the restaurant, it’s served with Hawaiian tropical fruits like lilikoi (yellow passion fruit), starfruit and rambutan, but the dessert is equally delicious with easier-to-find bananas, strawberries and pineapple. The fresh turmeric gives the lemon curd a particularly vibrant color and a very subtle savory flavor that plays against the sweet and tart flavors of the curd.
Learn more about Mahina & Sun’s—and see our Family Feast party—in the video below.