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There are fish in the house, if the house is the west Oahu home of the new Michael Mina restaurant

There are fish in the house, if the house is the west Oahu home of the new Michael Mina restaurant
A plate of fresh catches, including abalone, amberjack, Branzino and Kona lobster, is presented tableside at Michael Mina's newest restaurant in west Oahu. (Olivier Koning)

In Hawaii, where fresh fish is prominent on many menus, a well-known San Francisco chef is working to raise the bar.

The recently opened Mina's Fish House at the Four Seasons Oahu is the realization of chef Michael Mina's dream to create a restaurant along the water, where, as he put it, "fish was coming in the back door as we're in service."

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There are "very few places where you can do that," he said.

As soon as the fish lands in Honolulu, Mina relies on relationships forged with fishermen to deliver the best product as quickly as possible.

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The restaurant is in the resort community of Ko Olina, about 20 miles west of Honolulu.

"You can get fish all day long," he said. "And we tell people, 'If you've got something, just bring it.' We've got people bringing in fish at 6 o'clock at night."

Fish arrive all day long
Dining options at Mina's Fish House include indoors or outdoors on a terrace directly facing the ocean.
Dining options at Mina's Fish House include indoors or outdoors on a terrace directly facing the ocean. (Christian Horan)

The dinner menu, which changes daily, features more than 20 fish dishes, Mina said. Fresh arrivals frequently mean last-minute additions after menus have been printed.

"We've got two fish 'sommeliers,' as we call them… people on the floor every night talking about the fish and bringing it to the tables," he said. "They also are fishermen."

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Chef Michael Mina outside Mina's Fish House at Four Seasons in west Oahu.
Chef Michael Mina outside Mina's Fish House at Four Seasons in west Oahu. (Ola Collective)

Only the ahi tartare ($26) appetizer and the steamed lobster pot pie entrée can be found on the menu at other Mina restaurants. The rest are exclusive to the west Oahu location.

The regularly available options include phyllo-crusted butterfish ($44), black garlic and miso black cod ($48) and grilled yellow-fin tuna and seared foie gras ($57).

"Whether it's a contemporary, upscale, more composed dish or whether it's a whole fish that you're just putting beautiful olive oil and lemon on it and grilling it, at the end of the day it's all about the fish," Mina said.

Dinner is served 5-10 p.m. daily. Indoor seating and terrace seating overlook the Pacific.

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