Old Favorites, New Creations Featured on Happy Fish Menu Under New Ownership

Diners can still expect to enjoy their favorite rolls, above, at the sushi restaurant in The Marketplace.

Sushi lovers anxiously awaited news of Happy Fish’s new owner last month.

Would he revamp everything? Would he keep the appetizers, rolls, entrees and drinks that the restaurant’s loyal customers had grown to love?

Good news, Happy Fish fans — not only is the restaurant’s new owner Dave Trent keeping menu favorites, he’s giving his sushi masters, cooks and bartender the freedom to create new rolls, dishes and drinks to try out on patrons over the next few months.

“I’m giving a little bit more creative control for them to do different stuff each night, and we plan to print the menu in-house week by week, so we can change it up,” said Trent. “We’ve had a lot of good reception from our clientele as far as nightly additions to the menu, specials we’ve been having, and new cocktails that people are really enjoying. We want to make sure our customers know that if there’s anything on the menu that’s been taken off, they can still ask for it.”

Happy Fish’s new owner, Dave Trent, welcomes suggestions as he keeps the establishment open all summer. From Monday, August 8 through Saturday, August 13, Happy Fish will be offering a free carafe of hot sake to each paying customer upon request.

Exciting new options include the Godzilla roll, above, with spicy tuna and eel, topped with spicy crab salad.


Trent is new on island, but not new to Happy Fish. He’s from Boise, Idaho, where the restaurant originated, and is good friends with the St. John venue’s previous owner, Nate Kulchak. Trent’s own restaurant experience involves 15 years of working every position in every type of restaurant imaginable. This is the first time he’s ever owned a restaurant.

“The experience I’ve had with sushi has been sitting at the Happy Fish bar [in Boise] for the last 10 years and getting a really good feel of the entire business, the culture, and the food just by being on the opposite side of the bar,” said Trent.

Among the new things Happy Fish regulars can expect is a nightly happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m., where nothing will be over $7. The popular recently-installed lunch special will remain, and the restaurant will not close during off season.

Mixologist extraordinaire Kevin Baker is working hard behind the bar to create delectable new concoctions, like a sparkling lychee lemonade with vodka and effervescent Spanish white wine.

“I’m going to be focusing on things that are floral, aromatic, light and delicious,” said Baker.

Another enticing concoction Barker recently whipped up is a light basil gin sangria which hits all the right notes and pairs perfectly with fresh fish.

As for the food menu, diners can expect new items in each category, from appetizers to sushi rolls to desserts, and in each dish, patrons will find the light, simple flavors and attention to detail that Happy Fish is known for.

For an appetizer or light entrée, try the Caribbean red snapper, wrapped in shrimp mousse with ginger and sesame seed, which is dredged in seasoned flour and the pan fried. This dish comes with a chili plum glaze and grilled tomatoes.

A recent sushi special, the Godzilla, is a behemoth of a roll with spicy tuna, cucumber, avocado, wrapped in eel, then tempura fried. It’s finished off with a delightful spicy crab salad.

And for dessert, in a departure from Happy Fish’s traditional Asian Pear Flambe, try the coconut tempura mango and banana with a white chocolate and coconut dipping sauce.
From Monday, August 8 through Saturday, August 13, Happy Fish will be offering a free carafe of hot sake to each paying customer upon request.

Happy Fish is located on the second floor of the Marketplace. For more information, call 776-1717 or visit www.happyfishvi.com.