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A Kona Fave: Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill

December 5, 2017, 11:15 AM HST (Updated December 6, 2017, 1:22 PM)
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    It’s easy to understand why Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill is one of Kona’s favorite dinner spots.

    Owners Angie and Paul Rey opened the restaurant in 2004 and named the establishment after their daughter, Jackie. For nearly 14 years, they have been serving up fresh seafood, steaks and pastas with home-style hospitality with island flare.

    Executive Chef Stephen Wada began honing his culinary talents at the Orange County Institute of Culinary Arts at the tender age of 15. From there, he worked in fine dining across California, Hawai‘i and Florida. He recently returned to Hawai‘i Island to share his talents with Jackie Rey’s, to the delight of regular diners.

    “I moved back to Hawai‘i last April and began working at Jackie Rey’s,” said Wada. “I love working with local ingredients. One of the reasons I moved back was the fresh fish and the variety of different vegetables. What we get here is heads and tails above places in the mainland.”

    Wada is inspired by what fresh food is available to him.

    “I like to work by inspiration rather than preplan things too much,” he said. “I use what’s available and work with local ingredients to create something delicious. For example, I got some really nice shrimp the other night and marinated them for a few days with citrus lemongrass marinade. I then grilled them and served over rice with a guava glaze. I don’t really look for ingredients, the ingredients kind of come to me and I work with them.”

    His style of cooking works nicely with the quality choices of ingredients available locally.

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    “Jackie Rey’s always uses the freshest fish,” said Wada. “I get calls from local fishermen all the time so we get a really nice assortment of fish coming into the restaurant. They have a really good reputation for working with the fishermen, so it’s been real benefit and joy for me to work here.”

    Diners who enjoy starting their meal with pūpū will like the Kalua Pork Spring Rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce. Some of the stand out dishes from Jackie Rey’s dinner menu are the Seafood Trio—a delicious combination of grilled fresh catch, crab cake, shrimp kabob, sweet potato and Thai coconut sauce.

    Another favorite and visually pleasing dish is the Ahi Poke Tower, made with fresh tuna, avocado, tomato, crispy wontons and tropical drizzle. Steak lovers will enjoy the Steak au Poivre, a 10-ounce pepper-seared New York strip and seared potato cake with bacon and a brandy cream sauce. The Mochiko Fresh Catch is an outstanding fish with Moloka‘i sweet potatoes, and lime ginger and wasabi sauce.

    If you have any room left, don’t forget to ask about their special desserts.

    Jackie Rey’s is the perfect location for a special occasion meal or for foodies who love fresh, beautiful and delicious dishes. Dinner reservations are recommended.

    Jackie Rey’s is located at 75-5995 Kuakini Highway in Kona. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday rom 5to 9 p.m.

    For reservations, call (808) 327-0209.

    Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill’s Ahi Poke Tower with fresh tuna, avocado, tomato, crispy wontons and tropical drizzle. Karen Rose photo.

    Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill’s Kalua Pork Spring Rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce. Karen Rose photo.

    Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill’s Mochiko Crusted Fresh Catch with Molokai Sweet Potatoes, Lime Ginger and Wasabi sauce. Karen Rose photo.

    Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill’s sangria. Karen Rose photo.

    Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill’s Seafood Trio—Grilled Fresh Catch, Crab cake, Shrimp Kabob with sweet potato and Thai coconut. Karen Rose photo.

    Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill’s specialty dessert. Karen Rose photo.

    Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill’s Steak Au Poivre, a 10 ounce pepper-seared New York strip with seared potato cake with bacon and brandy cream sauce. Karen Rose photo.

    Karen Rose
    Karen Rose is a writer and journalist living on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Her writing focuses on food, wine, travel, arts and entertainment. She never met a food she didn't like—except black licorice.
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