Independence Day dinner at Jackie Rey's
Posted on: Thursday, July 05, 2012
On the Fourth of July many locals enjoy spending the day at the beach and/or heading into town in the late afternoon for the sweet little local parade that runs along Alii drive, followed by a small fireworks show off Kailua Pier. Yesterday we wrapped up work early and spent a hot sunny couple of hours on the beautiful sand at Old Airport Park (one of our favorite Kona secret spots), then decided to treat ourselves to a leisurely dinner at Jackie Rey’s restaurant.
We’ve been to Jackie Rey’s many times over the years and it has always been one of our favorite Kona restaurants, but last night everything seemed extra special. The sun was shining into the dining room, which already has a sunny, happy feel due to its bright red and yellow walls and vintage surf posters. We sat near the open door at the back, pre-sunset light flowing in around us, and ordered the specials of the day: fresh ono and ahi with sweet local potatoes, blackened steak with buttery mashed potatoes. One thing we’ve always appreciated about this place is that the kid’s menu features excellent, quality kid-friendly choices. For instance, their fish and chips consists of fresh ono battered in a fresh, crusty homemade batter, fried quickly in fresh oil, and hand-cut fries fried the same way: fresh, seasoned deftly, carefully made. Kid’s food is not always treated with such care, and we note this as a reflection of the generally high standard of food preparation and service at Jackie Rey’s.
Ken’s steak was rich and flavorful, the potatoes fresh and creamy and properly seasoned. I mention this because mashed potatoes are one of the most delicious and beloved classic sides but are not always treated with the care they deserve. (Case in point, the last time we went to the beloved Keei Café, both our dishes came with watery potatoes that were unseasoned and clearly had not been made fresh for that night’s service – so disappointing.) This mash sang.
I had the beautiful tower of fish that was just perfect. I’ve had this sort of preparation here before and love it: sesame-crusted fish (I get it seared only, so it’s nice and raw in the middle) on top of sweet purple potatoes (which don’t need anything extra), a little layer of fresh veg cooked with care so still crisp, and a couple of local flavor-inspired sauces. In the past they’ve done two sweet sauces, like passion fruit and another fruit, but last night it was passion fruit and a chili-infused beurre blanc sauce – wow! I had this dish with a passion fruit martini which was just right: that gorgeous mix of tart and sweet that only fresh passion fruit juice can deliver.
The food was excellent, the service was excellent. We happily give Jackie Rey’s five stars and recommend them gladly to any visitor. To view their menus, please visit their website: http://jackiereys.com/. They are located just off the Kuakini Highway, about twenty minutes from the Inn, and about five minutes out of Kailua.
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