Monday, September 01, 2008

My Favorite Sushi Spots 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.

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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.

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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.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin

I have been to TGB a couple times since they opened, but not once did I have their Tokusen Kurobuta Tonkatsu Teishoku. Not until my last visit. And OMG is it good. All of their menu items are good, but geez, the Kurobuta is good! It is worth the $36. The pork has a sweetness to it and it just melts in your mouth. It is fork cutting tender. Plus as it is, TGB has awesome rice which is cooked to perfection (all you can eat) and their goma suri tonkatsu sauce is tasty.


Wanda Adam's review @ The Honolulu Advertiser and her revisit here
Reid's post @ Ono Kine Grindz
Kathy's blurb @ A Passion for Food


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We're sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected...

I have found out that Sushi Koh has closed down. This came as a shock to my friends and I, as we just visited there at the end of last month. A few weeks ago a group of us were standing outside of Ginza Bairin waiting to be seated and we noticed that the Sushi Koh menu stand wasn't in it's usual location right in the front of the Breakers hotel. This was a night that they are usually open on. So it all makes sense now. Well hopefully they are moving or will reopen soon. :o\

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Hi everyone. Happy New Year! I know I haven't posted in a while, but I have been eating! Here are pictures from some meals that I had this week. Click on the pictures to take you to the photo set.



Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sushi Koh (鮨好)

Hey all! Long time... Been busy with a new job and I have other projects going on. I got a couple motorcycles I am building, a new car that I am trying not to modify ;), home renovations and have been surfing a lot. But, anywho, today I will be posting some old pics (Nov. 2002) from one of my favorite sushi spots, Sushi Koh. I last wrote that they moved and I have been there many times since. So without further ado here are the pictures.

Hon-Maguro Ootoro


Aburi Sake




Sushi Koh Bakudan Koh Donburi


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ajitama Ramen

On a recent night, while partaking in libations, a friend of mine, who goes by the handle, JiggyRamen, was raving to me about this new ramen place on Kapahulu. Now if you consider his handle choice and the fact that he AND his girlfriend, who stated that she doesn't care for noodles, was raving about this place, it must be good.

I was told it was in the same area as Starbucks and Jamba Juice, to park in the same lot and enter from the back entrance.

Follow the sign and you will find the "back entrance". A couple friends and I arrived right around opening on a Saturday evening. We were the first ones in there, but within half an hour the whole place became occupied. The interior was your typical ramen decor and nothing to write home about. They have a bookcase full of Japanese magazines and comic books. Fyi, the magazine "Fry-Day" has female nudity, so parents and those that might be offended of such, be forewarned. Of course my friends and I were all over it.

If you enter through the front you will be greeted with their sign with some Japanese hiragana that says "kotteri?". Which means, rich/thick. It refers to their broths.

As we reviewed their menu. I noticed that they had tsukemen, which they describe as "Cold Dipping Noodles". I love tsukemen because the noodles don't sit in the hot broth like Ramen, so the texture of it stays consistent through out your whole meal. So for those that haven't had tsukemen before it's like ramen but the noodles are served on the side.

We started off with some gyoza. Since it was early, they allowed us to make a "sampler" gyoza order. Where normally you would order 5 pcs. of either their Shantsai (Cilantro) or Nira (Chives) gyoza, they made one order of 3 pcs. Nira and 2 pcs. Shantsai. When this first arrived, the first thing I noticed was that the gyoza seemed small. They were about 2/3rds the size of your normal gyoza. The Shantsai was ok. I like cilantro, but I don't think it was a good pairing with gyoza. The Nira was good though. I like my gyoza to be juicy and both weren't juicy at all.

Friend K ordered the Shoyu Ramen. I sampled the broth and it was a bit richer than your normal shoyu broth. In the above picture you can see the fat floating around and it is definitely kotteri!

Friend J ordered the Kakuni Ramen. He also added the free chopped garlic option to his order. The broth seemed to be shoyu based. The Kakuni (braised pork belly) was very good. Pork fat rules! It was very tender and flavored well.

Friend C ordered the Goma Miso Tsukemen. I thought that they were a bit skimpy on the sides. There was only like 5 pieces of Menma (Pickled Bamboo Shoots) and a few sprouts. What's up with that? I tasted the broth and it was rich in miso and nutty goma flavor.

I ordered what my friend, JiggyRamen and his gf told me to order. The Spicy Negi Miso Tsukemen. I modified my order with chopped garlic, special garlic oil and chopped round onions. This dish was good but spicy. I was perspiring the whole time I ate it. If that mound of Negi (Green Onion) wasn't on my plate, my dish would have looked like friend C's plate. Again skimpy on the sides.

Overall the place is good. Flavors are rich like their street front sign suggests. Kotteri for sure. The only downside to this place is that the portions are small. Small gyoza, little sides and smaller than average portion of noodles. I will be back but not with a huge appetite.

Ajitama Ramen
617 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815

Lunch: 11:30AM-2:00PM (M-F)
Dinner: 5:30PM-9:30PM (M-Sat.)
Closed on Sundays


Monday, March 05, 2007

Some Local News

This is old news but, Masu's Massive Plate Lunch closed down last week. I have only eaten there a handful of times, but I always find it sad when unique local eateries close down. I like the diversity and character they bring to our choice of eateries. Read the full story @ The Honolulu Star Bulletin or The Honolulu Advertiser.

On to other news. Big Kahuna's Pizza is moving from it's current location to the Airport Trade Center. Read more about it @ The Honolulu Advertiser.