VIDEO: Fresh Hawaiian Fish Menu at Wynn Las Vegas’ Lakeside Grill
I've always loved the freshness and variety of Hawaiian fish--but it's hard to find either on the mainland. So my ears were definitely pricked by the announcement that Wynn Las Vegas' Lakeside Grill would be offering a rotating selection of fresh Hawaiian fish flown in daily.
This month, Chef David Walzog and Chef Rene Lenger presented their new program--rivaled only by the Wynn's other fantastic fish destination, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare for exclusivity and variety--at a private luncheon.
I was lucky enough to attend and SHOOT THIS VIDEO WITH CHEF WALZOG:
[Please click on HD quality on the video settings for best viewing}
David flew to Hawaii and spent time building relationships with fishermen there, while learning about the varieties available. I can't claim to be an expert on all the species, so here are some of the notes from Lakeside on the varieties they offer:
Ehu (Short Tail Red Snapper)
Texture: Silky & Tender
Flavor: Delicate Mild Flavor
These fish are usually caught feeding near Onaga grounds in 700 to 1000 feet of water. They are sought after for their delicate white fillets that are steamed, baked, broiled, or sautéed. Ehu is interchangable with Opakapaka and Onaga, sharing a similar flavor profile with each. Ehu has the most delicate texture of all the snappers.
Hapu’upu’u (Hawaii Sea Bass or Grouper)
Only known to occur in the Hawaiian Islands and at seamounts just northwest of Hawaii. Groupers are able to change skin colors to blend into their natural habitat, and the Hapu`upu`u is no exception. Most Hapu`upu`u seen in the market are black, but fish captured in certain locations may be brownish or reddish. It is a deepwater bottomfish usually caught between 300 and 900 feet. Most of the Hapu`upu`u caught off the main Hawaiian Islands are from five to 10 pounds in size, whereas the waters around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands yield fish mostly in the 10 to 30 pound range.
Kajiki (Blue Marlin)
Kajiki (commonly known as A`u, the Hawaiian name applied to all Marlin species) is distinguishable by its larger size, heavier bill and rougher, dark‐black skin. It lacks the obvious stripes of the Nairagi. Fish caught around the Hawaiian Islands can get as large as 1,600 pounds in round weight, but the usual size of fish marketed is between 80 and 300 pounds. Like all of the large billfish (A’u) caught by the ancient Hawaiians, the Kajiki was feared because it could pierce a fishing canoe with its heavy bill.
Monchong (Sickle Pomfret)
Two species of Monchong in Hawaii are harvested in small quantities by the longline and bottomfish handline fisheries. The predominant species is the Sickle Pomfret, distinguished by the forked shape of its fins and large scales. Usually caught in deep waters (greater than 900 feet), often in the vicinity of seamounts, Monchong can range from about four pounds to over 25 pounds, but the prime market sizes are fish over 12 pounds.
Nairagi (Striped Marlin)
Nairagi has the slenderest bill and the most visible "stripes” of all Billfish and a high, pointed dorsal fin and more compressed sides. It is considered the finest eating of all Marlin species because of its tender flesh. Nairagi caught around the Hawaiian Islands usually range between 40 and 100 pounds in round weight and are rarely over 130 pounds.
Onaga (Longtail Red Snapper)
Texture: Soft & Moist
Onaga is one of Hawaii's fish better known by its Japanese name than by its Hawaiian name, Ula`ula Koae. It is also called Ruby Snapper or Scarlet Snapper, due to its brilliant red color. Onaga is harvested mainly during the fall and winter months (October to March). Caught exclusively with vertical hook‐and-line gear, this bottomfish is caught in deep waters at 600 to 1000 feet. Hawaii’s residents have a strong culturally‐oriented demand for long tail Red Snappers for ceremonial occasions such as New Year's and weddings, when Onaga sashimi is traditionally served. Most of the Onaga caught off the Hawaiian Islands range in size from one to 18 pounds.
Texture: Flaky & delicate
Ono is a Hawaiian word meaning "good to eat." It is a close relative of the king mackerel. Built like a torpedo, they are fast swimmers and may grow to 100 pounds, but the usual size of the fish caught in Hawaii is eight to 30 pounds. European explorers who first mapped the islands found ono to be plentiful off the island of Oahu. Maps of the time indicate a very common spelling of Oahu was "Wahoo," and this is believed to be the origin of the fish's other name.
Opah has a silvery-grey upper body with a rose red dotted white belly, its fins are crimson and its large eyes encircled with gold. Opah landed in Hawaii range from 60 to over 200 pounds in weight. Historically the Opah was viewed as a good luck fish by old-time longline fisherman, who would give it away as a gesture of goodwill rather than sell it.
Opakapaka (Hawaii Pink Snapper)
Though known as the Hawaiian Pink Snapper, Opakapaka's skin is actually light brown. Found at depths between 180 and 600 feet, fish caught over hard bottoms have brighter skin colors than those caught over soft bottoms. Caught year‐round in the Hawaiian Islands, there is a distinct peak in landings during the winter season (October to February), particularly in the fishery around the main Hawaiian Islands. Opakapaka ranges in size from one to 18 pounds. This species grows larger in the Hawaiian Islands than anywhere else in the South Pacific.
Uku (Blue‐Green Snapper)
Texture: Firm & Moist
Uku shares many of the same qualities that have given Opakapaka and Onaga their reputations as outstanding table fish. Like other Hawaii snappers, Uku has clear, translucent pink flesh that is delicately flavored, moist and firm. Most of the Uku caught range between four and 18 pounds round weight. Uku less than one to two pounds or over 30 pounds are rarely caught. Line‐caught, mostly with vertical hook‐and‐line gear, this bottomfish is caught in shallower waters no deeper than 360 feet.