Merriman’s serves ono dishes with locally-sourced ingredients

If you’re looking for fine-dining cuisine that offers local ingredients, check out Merriman’s Fish House on the South Shore.

Since October 2009, Merriman’s has worked with local farms and businesses to serve patrons the freshest dishes from locally grown or caught ingredients.

Merriman’s service manager and wine director Kui Viado said 90 percent of the ingredients used at the restaurant are locally sourced.

“We’re a farm-to-table restaurant,” Viado said.

Viado detailed the local businesses that work hand-in-hand with Merriman’s Fish House.

“We work with everyone; the list goes on and on,” Viado said. “We use Ono Organics, Kunana Farms, Kailani Farms, Kaua’i Fresh Farms, Wooten Farm, Growing Strong, Kaua’i Roots — get plenty. We also use A‘akukui Ranch beef, Medeiros Farms, Kaneshiro pork and all local fishermen as much as possible.”

Keeping things fresh, local and knowing where it comes from is the most important thing for Merriman’s, Viado said.

After listening to him list all the businesses Merriman’s works with, I was impressed. When a restaurant relies heavily on local growers and vendors, it’s easy to support it. And it’s even easier to support it after trying some of their onolicious dishes.

Executive Chef Mark Arriola prepared three appetizing dishes: Poke Trio, $23; Naturally Raised Colorado Lamb Chops, $39; and Crispy Day Boat Mahi Mahi, $36.

The Poke Trio is an assortment of three different types of poke — Keahole lobster and avocado; ono, coconut and jalapeño; and fresh island ahi with kukui nut.

“In the Poke Trio we have keahole lobster with avocado, locally caught ono done Tahitian-style with coconut milk and chef-shaved young coconut, and fresh ahi poke with inamona that we make here,” Viado said.

The naturally raised Colorado lamb chops, as you may have guessed, is one of the few dishes that doesn’t used locally-sourced meat.

“The lamb comes on a bed of local sweet corn, Moloa‘a Farms’ Swiss chard and green peppercorn rosemary demi-glace,” Viado said.

The final dish is a winner, a fish lover’s dream of mahi mahi cooked to perfection.

“The mahi mahi is done crispy, so it’s lightly dusted with flour, sautéed and finished off in the oven — you’ll get a dual texture of crispy on the outside and real soft-baked inside,” Viado said. “It’s served with Molokai purple sweet potato puree and shiitake relish — shiitake mushrooms, takuan, heart of palm and organic carrots”

The glaze that comes with a soy citrus ponzu made to order every day, said Viado, adding that the ponzu is made in a pan for every order of fish.

“We don’t make big batches of ponzu here,” he said.

Merriman’s takes local dining to a high level, and when you dine there, you also support a range of local business.

Eating locally sourced products is ono, sustainable and akamai.

Merriman’s Fish House, is at The Shops at Kukui‘ula mall in Po‘ipu, at 2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka st. It’s open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Reservations are recommended for the upstairs restaurant, open from 5 to 9 p.m.

Visit merrimanshawaii.com/kauai or call 742-8385 for more information.

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