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Friday, July 1, 2016

PAT GOES TO NICO'S AT PIER 38

Well, it's July, and best as I can guess, because this is a leap year, at some point at the end of today we will be at midpoint in the Year 2016.  This is also Canada Day.

My blog today is a bit messed up, for there was a "scam" comment to my blogs of July 26 and 27, so I re-published them today without those comments.  I could have gone to Google to have them delete those intrusions, and thereby kept those postings on those days, but I thought that would take more time.

Today, it's one of those, what, where have I been articles.  Honolulu Harbor has a numbering system for the piers:
    • 2:    Cruise ships
    • 9:    Aloha Tower
    • 10:  Cruise ships
    • 11:  Cruise ships
    • Pier 19:  Hawaii Superferry (now no more)
    • 39:  Fish auction and restaurants
    • 39 and 40:  Young Brothers (shipping cars inter island)
    • 51-53:  Container ships (shipping cars away and pick-up)

I had to go to COSTCO on Alakawa, so I thought, let me get a fish bento from Nico's and enjoy the ocean view.  What a shock.  Clearly, I haven't been here for a very long time, as the somewhat unkempt 1800 square foot takeout counter with a few plastic seats and tables is no more.  Apparently Nico opened a 5,200 square feet restaurant four years ago, and the place was packed.

Note the two Nico signs:  the left is for their market, and the right is where you eat.  The market:


The restaurant, where you order to the left, then the second photo is from the outside:


Above Nico's is Harbor restaurant, large, at 10,000 square feet, but I guess not quite totally opened, for I first checked there, saw a lot of open tables, but they had a 20 minute wait time.  


So I went down and joined the mob, ordered a medium rare ahi sandwich with wasabi/garlic aioli.  The best ahi sandwich I've ever had:


I should indicate that the sandwich cost $12.95.  That green stuff is arugula, which was placed in abundance.  There must have been 20 leaves.  However, one of my arugula leaf on my lanai weighs more than all 20. 


A story of all the above can be found in Honolulu Magazine:
  • It began with Jim Cook, who at one time ran a little cafe in Venice, California, whose daughter Juliana married Nico Chaize.
  • Cook and Sean Martin (above, left, with Juliana and Nico) opened POP Marine and Fishing at Pier 38 in 2004, just about the time the fish auction re-relocated there.
  • They found a small adjacent space for Nico to have a fish takeout.
  • Also at Pier 38 is Fresh Island Fish, a fish wholesaler, distributor and owner of Uncle's Market and Grill, which is also expanding.
  • In 2012 POP moved to a new building at Pier 38, giving Nico's an opportunity to expand.
  • The Harbor at Pier 38?  Also owned by POP.  It is supposed to be meat-focused and of a higher class.  Nico's now also serves breakfast and is casual, although dinner is more full service and costlier.
So what Kewalo Basin once was for fishing (I grew up in this neighborhood), Pier 38 is now the the place to go, with more to come.  Just drive down Alakawa Street by COSTCO across Nimitz Highway towards the ocean.  (Don't go to the star.  I think this is a Young Brothers map.)
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