Stepping out of the water of Kaimana Beach, I feel the rays of the setting sun kiss my cheeks and I hear the roar of the waves breaking upon the shore. The beaches are our sanctuary and are literally in our backyards. I think about how lucky I am to live in Hawai’i. My thoughts are interrupted by a low rumbling sound – my stomach. I decide to pack up and head over to a post-beach favorite – Diamond Head Market and Grill.
As I drive along Monsarrat Avenue and arrive at the Diamond Head Market and Grill, I notice a long line of people streaming from its outside window. I park in their parking lot and head inside. They have an inside market, a deli and a bakery that sells gourmet food and pupus. And the outside window comes with an outside eating area. I love coming here for gourmet food on-the-go and slow-cooked plate lunches.
I pick up a bottle of Perrier and suddenly, at the check-out counter, I reach a brownie versus cookie dilemma. The cashier is patient. I decide to go with the water only. Whether you visit for breakfast, lunch, dinner or in-between – the service is quick, un-hurried and not rude.
The Diamond Head Market and Grill has a talented staff led by owner Kelvin Ro. He is more than just a cook – he is a local favorite chef. His meals have had so much positive recognition that he has earned an Ilima Award for Critic’s Best Choice Breakfast.
I head back outside to place my meal order. The “Grill” is best known for their homestyle burgers and Portobello mushrooms, but I prefer the fish. When it’s my turn to order at the window, I ask for a mini-plate order of grilled salmon, covered in a special miso ginger sauce, fresh-tossed greens and white rice. I pay $9.50. Although technically a traditional “plate lunch,” my food is not carelessly plopped into my container. It is neatly tucked away with an artistically drizzled miso sauce topping.
The salmon is grilled, but not charred. The rice – the true measure of a restaurant’s capability – is not neglected and the greens are still fresh and crispy, as promised. They provide a knife with the meal, but I do not need it. I am able to cut the tender salmon fillet with my fork. As I peel away a portion of the fillet, I notice the miso sauce is not merely resting on top of the salmon, but it has seeped inside.
As I take my first bite of this tantalizing fillet, I can only think of two words – moist and flavorful. Sitting at an outside table on a quiet street corner, I relax and enjoy the colors on my plate and the colors in the setting sun.
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