I like drinks that involve pineapple juice in almost every instance I've had it. I think it's because pineapple juice-based reminds me of Hawaii. And who wouldn't like something that reminds you of Hawaii? Besides this, bottled pineapple juice by itself is, as far as I'm concerned, undrinkable. But put the stuff in a glass, add rum, ice and you've got a cocktail worthy of a Don Ho soundtrack, a flowery shirt, and the silly totem-pole bamboo vessel you'll sip it from. Add coconut milk to that formula, and you get, well, a very basic pina colada. Introduce to it orange juice, and some grated nutmeg, and that pina colada turns into a Painkiller.
The Black Marlin is a strange place to find a Painkiller, let alone a killer Painkiller. It is not a Hawaiian themed restaurant like Roy's, nor is it a faux-Hawaiian tiki bar like Don the Beachcomber; it's a “bar and seafood grill” housed in the garage-looking building behind Honda-Ya that was previously a BBQ restaurant, and another BBQ restaurant before that.
Above all, it's just an American comfort food restaurant. Among its main entrees, only 5 of the 12 choices are seafood. The rest: chops, steaks, and a chicken fettucine. Besides that, the “seafood grill” part of The Black Marlin is still finding its sea legs. A few dishes I tried–an odd tasting swordfish still cold in the middle and egregiously over-salted fried chicken–weren't ready for prime time. But perhaps because the bar part already know what it's doing, weekend wait times are long.
The Painkiller is everything I mentioned earlier, using Pusser's rum, served in a tall glass sprinkled with gratings of nutmeg. Yes, it tastes just like a pina colada that someone's adulterated with orange juice, but it's a refreshing surge of the tart and fruity, tempered by the creaminess of coconut, then all of it burned off by the rum. And yes, it did remind me of Hawaii.
560 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780, (714) 583-7646; TheBlackMarlin.com
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.