35th Hale ‘Aina Winner: Herringbone Waikīkī is Hawai‘i’s Best New Restaurant
Top of the seafood chain: Fish fanatics found piscatory paradise at Herringbone Waikīkī.
PHOTOS: AARON K. YOSHINO
There haven’t been many restaurant openings as smooth and sumptuous as Herringbone Waikīkī’s in August 2017. Although Herringbone’s motto is “Fish Meats Field,” the upscale branch of celeb San Diego chef Brian Malarkey and the Hakkasan Group first won over seafood fanatics with a humble-brag appetizer, Buffalo octopus. Who knew black-eyed peas and a Frank’s-like vinegary hot sauce could fly tako over the moon?
But what truly floated our boat—and, we’re guessing, that of the voters who named Herringbone Best New Restaurant—was the armada of seafood towers of immaculate Instagrammable opulence (and prices: $85/Skiff, $135/Sailboat, $175/Yacht). Complementing those ziggurats of king crab, lobster and oysters, along with wild salmon, yellowfin and Hokkaido scallop entrées—plus a $61 strip steak and $36 roast half-chicken—was Herringbone’s palatial rooftop setting at the International Market Place.
Smart and stylish in shades of black and chrome, airy and urban and vaguely Spanish Moroccan, the space is one of the most dramatic and comfortable in the Islands. We were still in celebratory mode over its elegant Oyster Hour deal, aka The Two Buck Shuck, when word came in March of Hakkasan and Malarkey’s split. The news was followed by the closing of the another Hakkasan restaurant, Yauatcha, also at the marketplace, along with the departure of executive chef Ray Locquiao—whose Ray-Ray Pancakes are the toast of the town.
For now Herringbone’s fish is still as fanatically fresh, a version of Ray-Ray Pancakes, now called mochi pancakes, are on the menu and the setting’s still amazing; here’s hoping it rides out Hurricane Hakkasan.
Herringbone Waikīkī, 2330 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 797-2435, herringboneeats.com