WHEN YOU ARRIVE at Herringbone Waikiki —Hakkasan Group’s latest opening in Honolulu—you first notice the big graphic fish, artistic catch hanging upside-down next to planters brimming with greenery. Immediately, you get it: Herringbone is about sea and field. The newest addition to the chic eateries at International Market Place’s Grand Lānai is notably the first to feature seafood—and the first where the visual feast matches the gustatory one. This is why you’ll want to take your time getting to your table. Stacks of fishing crates greet you at the entrance, aquamarine glasses dot the tables and a living wall of organic edibles brings you to a scene of whole tunas cavorting on ice. And that’s just at eye level. Overhead, skiffs hang from the ceiling near the skeleton of a marine mammal. Fishing lanterns dangle over a table on the lānai, where puffed-up blowfish hang like surprised ornaments on a light-festooned tree.
Herringbone Waikiki, the fourth rendition of celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s fish-meats-field concept, is as playful as the flagship in La Jolla, Calif. To keep the cuisine up to spec, the Honolulu kitchen has been entrusted to talented executive chef Chad Horton. Two tidbits of intel will add to your feast. First, there’s a daily oyster hour in the lounge and bar area from 4 to 6pm. Second, Herringbone’s menu invites group dining. Ignorant of the latter, our hungry party of two was thrust into drooling indecision over the one-page menu. With assorted friends, servers and managers weighing in with their own favorites, we did what any food-giddy party of two would do... and ended up ordering enough for five.
Beside the daily selections of Kualoa, Shigoku, Kumamoto, Barron Point and other varieties of oysters, few things on the menu come in small portions. Far from austere, Herringbone deftly delivers a culinary feast. You can generously dine on starters, salads and sides alone. Start with an unctuous Caesar salad (yes, a salad!) with succulent house-smoked trout and the Buffalo octopus. Its tenderly massaged, twice-fried tentacle comes coated in a crispy, spicy crust with ranch-tossed black-eyed peas and shavings of fresh celery.
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