Honolulu dishes out delicious Japanese.
It’s no surprise that authentic Tokyo-style sushi joints and ramen shops pepper the city. After all, the Japanese are 21 percent of Honolulu’s population. Sushi Tucked in an industrial strip mall, Yohei Sushi is not the easiest place to find. But persevere, and you will be rewarded with fish flown in twice weekly direct from Japan. Besides raw delicacies, the misoyaki butterfish is cooked to perfection.
Chef Garrett Wong, previously of Yohei, now slices at Sushi ii (pronounced ee, and meaning “good” in Japanese) in the Samsung Plaza. Specials have included nori-crusted popovers and abalone confit.
Mitch’s Sushi is close to the airport, making it ultra-convenient for a business that depends on the freshest chu-toro (superior fatty-grade tuna) and hotate (scallops). The tiny place, an adjunct to Mitch’s fish market, is also home to lobster sashimi.
Note: Eating sushi in Tokyo can mean shelling out $200 per person. Prices in Honolulu can also be steep.
Ramenphiles slurp the noodles up at Yotteko-Ya. The creamy paitan-style broth is made more flavorful by tonkotsu (pork) bones. According to the menu, eating these broths can even make you look younger. Be warned: The sign outside Yotteko-Ya reads Kyoto-Ramen.
Lucky Belly may be more San Francisco or L.A. than straight-up Tokyo. But then, there are plenty of hipster spots in Japan’s largest metro. You’ll get your bowl of savory ramen full of deliciousness like pork belly, arabiki sausage, and oxtail dumplings. Creative cocktails round out the experience.
Homemade, chewy udon is the star in the nebayaki at Jimbo and in the cold tanuki (noodle salad) with tempura chips.
Izakaya Izakaya means sake shop, and izakaya food is like our version of pub grub. At Sushi Izakaya Gaku, it’s gastropub grub, adventure-style, from snout to tail… or gill to gill. Delicacies include hamachi (yellowtail) bone chips, house-made tofu jelly with uni (urchin), tori kara-age (ginger-marinated fried chicken), and the specialty negihama tartare, which, simply explained, is a fish tartare with added touches. Gaku also excels at sushi.