It worked out great that our hotel in Ko Olina literally ended up being across the street from Monkeypod, the newest restaurant creation from famed chef Peter Merriman. I was actually familiar with Chef Merriman as we had eaten at another of his restaurants (Merriman’s) when we visited Maui. I loved my meal there and was pretty certain that anything with the Merriman name would be phenomenal and it was.
Monkeypod is the more casual sibling to Merriman’s. It’s “thing” is serving food that is all locally grown instead of spending time and resources on importing food from thousands of miles away. It also offers 36 draft beers, including selections from some of the Hawaiian islands’ most famous breweries (Kona Brewing Company and Maui Brewing Company, the latter of which we had visited).
One of the best things about Monkeypod is its awesome happy hour deals which run daily from 3-5:30 PM, seven days a week (yes, that’s right-not just during the work week). Appetizers are half off (excluding a couple of selections), pizzas are $9, draft beers are $4.75 if they’re $9 and under, and glasses of red and white wine are $6. (For Hawaii, these kinds of deals are amazing as eating and drinking out can often be an expensive venture.) We had a reservation for 5:15 and our waitress was kind enough to rush in our drink and and appetizer orders with a few minutes to go before 5:30.
While I am sure everything on the menu is delicious, none of the entrees were particularly calling out to me the evening we dined there and so I decided to do a sampler. To start I ordered the Pumpkin Patch Ravioli ($9.95) which came with Kiawe-roasted Squash, Chevre, Spinach, and was cooked in Sage Brown Butter, and the Garlic Truffle Oil Fries ($6.95) with whole grain mustard aioli and house-made ketchup. The order came with a TON of fries and these were some of the best I ever had. And both of these were half-off.
For my “entree” I ordered the Hau’ula Farm Organic Tomato and Tabouleh Salad ($11.95). I’ve only had taboluleh a few times prior but I enjoyed it. It was served with whole grain farro, ricotta salata cheese, cucumber, mint, parsley and doused in olive oil. As I ate heavy on the trip, it was nice to have a much lighter meal.
D selected the Big Island Cheeseburger for his main course ($12.95), a slightly more gourmet version of a regular cheeseburger (i.e. dijon aioli and fontina cheese). As a side he ordered Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes ($5.95). They were very green and very good.
We didn’t save room for dessert although their tropical fruit pies sounded delicious. While Monkeypod was a different experience from Merriman’s, I still loved our meal. Our waitress was fantastic, the food delicious, and ironically enough, due to the happy hour specials, it ended up being one of our least expensive meals! Where there’s a Peter Merriman restaurant, I will try it.
And for anyone curious, this is a monkeypod tree.
More in this series!