My Favorite Sushi SpotsHello...is anyone out there? I hope all my readers haven't abandoned me. I can't blame you, as I know I haven't really posted anything for you to read. I still have all the hobbies/projects that I mentioned a few posts ago and I started a few more hobbies/sports (SUP and 6 Man Canoe Paddling), so I am a bit busy. But rest assured I still eat and take a lot of pics.
I get asked often what I think is the "best" sushi bar on Oahu and to that I reply "I don't have a 'best' spot, but a few places that I rotate throughout as they all have different characteristics and do things differently." So here, I am going to list my favorite sushi spots.
Sushi Koh - Although this place isn't in business anymore, I wanted to mention it as a tribute to this great sushi bar of past. I really liked this place because of their Aburi Sake Harami Nigiri, Aburi Hamachi Harami Nigiri, consistently good Engawa and the one and only spot where you could get the OMG delicious Bakudan Koh Donburi. Yoshi always took care of me when I went there. Supposedly he has closed up and moved to the mainland to be closer to his daughter. Click on the below thumbnails to go to my Flickr sets of Sushi Koh.
Past posts of Sushi Koh:
2004-12-30 Sushi Koh
2005-06-10 Sushi Koh
Original Location Sushi Koh Closed
Sushi Koh Reopens
2002-11-xx Sushi Koh
Sushi Koh Really Closes
Sushi Izakaya Gaku - Gaku is great!...if you can manage to get seats. Gaku is very popular and always packed. This place is probably the hot spot of authentic japanese sushi/izakaya's in Hawaii at this very moment. With the Honolulu Advertiser recently reviewing it, it's popularity will only further increase. What I really like to order at Gaku that you can't get elsewhere is their Zuke Ikura and their dried then deep fried fish bones. Some places will fry you the bones of smaller fish, but because they don't dry it first, it never comes out super crispy as it does at Gaku. Of course they also do everything else well. They often have Aji and Hirame. Sometimes you get suprised with Iwashi, Sayori and even Kinmedai. Click on the below thumbnails to go to my Flickr sets of Gaku.
Chiba-Ken - I like Chiba-Ken because of the hours, the atmosphere, the staff and of course the food. On Friday and Saturday they are open 'till 2AM which is good for us night owls. This is the only place on my list that has outdoor seating. Although it only overlooks Ena Road, it is nice to relax with some drinks and good food out in the fresh Hawaiian air. The staff is great, attentive but not overbearing. This is the one place that always gives you that extra something. Whether it be that extra over pour on your sake or some gratis sashimi/sushi. Click on the below thumbnails to go to my Flickr sets of Chiba-Ken.
Sushi Masa - I typically go here for lunch. It is located right across of Sedona in Ward Center. It is very casual but convenient. Don't let the settings fool you though, this place has really good sushi. I like to order the Katsuo Nigiri (w/ Masa's special Ponzu sauce and a garlic chip wrapped by nori), Aji Nigiri (w/ Masa's special Ponzu sauce) and his "lobster" nigiri. Click on the below thumbnail to go to my Flickr set of Sushi Masa.
Yohei/Maguro-Ya - When it comes to sushi I am pretty traditional. Some call me a "Sushi Nazi," as I often refuse to eat at places that serve contemporary sushi. How do I define contemporary sushi? Anything that has dynamite or rainbow in its name or has ingredients involved that aren't usually used in Japanese cuisine. The reason I have been going to Yohei Sushi for almost 15 years now is that they are a blend of old and new and regularly have a great selection of neta (topping). If you sit in front of Kazuto he will make you straight up good traditional sushi. If you sit in front of Ryuji he will make you good progressive sushi. Ryuji can take a base neta that I would normally not order and make it something that I really like. For example, Ika is not something I normally would order, but this Ika Mentaiko Uzura Nigiri is just amazing. Another one of his progressive creations is this Ama Ebi Uni Nigiri. The reason why I have Maguro-Ya listed together with Yohei, is because it is run by Kazuto's brother. They have many similarities such as the fish they carry (I'm assuming they have the same fish broker) and their shari (sushi rice). I haven't visited Maguro-Ya as much as Yohei and there isn't the progressive Ryuji sushi, but it is nonetheless very good. Whether you decide to visit Yohei, Maguro-Ya or both, you won't be dissapointed! Click on the below thumbnails to go to my Flickr sets of Yohei Sushi.
Mitch's Sushi - I have only been here once before, but I just know that this place is a winner from my solo experience. In addition to having amazingly fresh ingredients, the sushi chef went out of the way to bring me out some kimo (entrails/offal) from the back when I mentioned that I love kimo. Also they have ingredients such as Fuka Hire, Live Awabi and Live Ise Ebi, which is generally not seen at sushi bars in Hawaii. Click on the below thumbnail to go to my Flickr set of Mitch's Sushi.
Hanamaru - Recently opened and recently discovered, Hanamaru was instantly a hit with me. On my first visit they actually had Kawahagi, although they didn't have the kimo which is what Kawahagi is really known for. Why them having Kawahagi is a big deal is that I have never had Kawahagi anywhere but in Japan. On my most recent visit there, the sushi chef actually let me pick which Chu Toro slab that I would be getting my Chu Toro Nigiri from (out of 6 different slabs). Every time I have gone they have had Katsuo (Yum!) which I rarely see at sushi bars in Hawaii. Which is quite odd since you can catch Katsuo in Hawaii. They have great prices on their sake and also are one of the few places that I visit that carries Orion beer. Click on the below thumbnail to go to my Flickr set of Hanamaru.