Posts Tagged ‘donburi’

Rinka Japanese Restaurant – Go for the Gold!

May 1, 2013

One evening, after helping us watch our daughter for the entire day, I told the parentals that we should go grab dinner, my treat. I suggested Rinka, this new Japanese restaurant I’ve been hearing about through the foodie grapevine. Much like the discovery of Marukame Udon a couple years ago, Pops had already heard about Rinka and has been wanting to eat there as well. Deal!

Rinka Japanese Restaurant sign
Rinka Japanese Restaurant sign

Located on Makaloa (between Walgreen’s and Hawaii USA FCU, on the backside of Heald College and Roger Dunn Golf), Rinka’s sliding door entrance, zen sand/rock garden (cleverly shaped as the Hawaiian Islands) in the foyer, and “Irrashaimase” greeting gave the exact authenticity I was looking for.

Nicely renovated with wood and cement accents, Rinka boasts a sushi bar, and a decent amount of western style seating…

Inside Rinka
Inside Rinka

… But if you want the full-on Nippon experience, see if you can reserve the “tatami” room like we did. Although the ground was not exactly made out of tatami, there is kotatsu style seating (low table with feet in the ground) and you have the luxury of privacy if the other table doesn’t get filled during your meal.

Inside the tatami room
Inside the “tatami” room

The menu is a quite diverse with 14 appetizers, 5 shabu shabus, 3 hot pots, 3 salads, 6 deep fried, 4 boiled, & 5 grilled choices, 11 sashimi offerings, and 8 donburi/udon options. With the exception of a couple items for the bebe (sushi egg & chicken karaage), we played it safe and ordered from the “kou-su” (set course) menu, which included many of their popular items.

Sushi Egg from the Appetizer section ($3.75)
Sushi Egg from the Appetizer section ($3.75)

Chicken Karaage from the Deep Fried section ($7.75)
Chicken Karaage from the Deep Fried section ($7.75)

First up in the kou-su was the Mozuku & Ika Marine (Cladosiphon okamuranus seaweed & squid vinegar concoction).

Ika Marine & Mozuku
Ika Marine & Mozuku

The second item was the Snapper in a Spinach Base Soup, complete with gold flakes on top (hence the “Gold” in the title of this article)! BRAH! This one was probably one of my favorites in the kou-su! Super ono!

Snapper in a Spinach Base Soup
Snapper in a Spinach Base Soup

Next was the Sashimi Tsukuri, a nicely presented offering of ahi and snapper.

Sashimi Tsukuri
Sashimi Tsukuri

The Renkon Manjyu (lotus root manjyu) was one of my other favorites and up next.

Renkon Manjyu
Renkon Manjyu

I’m not a fan of onions and tomatoes, so I had to do some maneuvering when eating the next dish: Crab Tomato Salad.

Crab Tomato Salad
Crab Tomato Salad

Next was the Abalone Croquette, one of the most popular items on their menu. To me, it was just ok.

Abalone Croquette
Abalone Croquette

And then came the “ingrediments” for the Buta (pork) Shabu Shabu.

Buta (pork) strips for the Buta Shabu Shabu
Buta (pork) strips for the Buta Shabu Shabu

Veggies for the Buta Shabu Shabu
Veggies for the Buta Shabu Shabu

Buta Shabu Shabu simmering
Buta Shabu Shabu simmering

Pops showing his shabu shabu skills
Pops showing his shabu shabu skills

As with other shabu shabu or hot pot restaurants, you get the option of making the most of your remaining soup base by ordering noodle or rice options to finish things off. We went with one of each: rice, ramen noodles, and udon!

Rice simmering
Rice simmering

Ramen noodles simmering
Ramen noodles simmering

Udon dekiagari (pau!)
Udon dekiagari (pau!)

The “kou-su” finishes with a few dessert options. We went with the Mochi Ice Cream and Sakura Cheesecake options.

Mochi Ice Cream
Mochi Ice Cream

Sakura Cheesecake (more golllld!)
Sakura Cheesecake (more golllld!)

The “kou-su” is normally $60, but we got it for their special, grand opening $45 rate. We ordered 3 sets, which was more than enough for 4 of us adults.

Kudos to Executive Chef Kazufumi Sonoda for delivering a medley of memorable dishes. Rinka is a definitely try, with or without gold sprinkles. 😉

Rinka Japanese Restaurant
1500 Kapiolani Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814 (Street View)
(808) 941-5159
Hours: Tue-Sun 5:30pm-12am
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Yajima-Ya Lunch Wagon Revisited

August 1, 2012
Yatai in Hawaii (Part I) |  Yajima-Ya Revisited (Part II) 

The last time I covered the Yajima-Ya Lunch Wagon (located off of Sheridan Street near Keeaumoku), the majority of their menu items consisted of the noodle (soba or udon) and don (rice bowls) variety. Since then, they’ve expanded their menu to include well received plate lunch style items like teriyaki or mushroom chicken, steak, and a Japanese style beef stew called Hayashi Rice. I figgah now’s a good time as any to pay chef Tomoki Ito a (re)visit to see what’s new… with a little food p0rn/eye candy of course!

One of my favorite (and incidentally one of their most popular) dishes here is the mushroom chicken. Made with egg and tempura flour, the breaded crispiness of the chicken is offset nicely with the rich “graviness” of the rue. With a side of spinach and Japanese style mac salad, this one is fo’ real kine brok’ da mout’!

Mushroom Chicken Plate ($8.50)
Mushroom Chicken Plate ($8.50)

Prepared in a similar way sans the gravy, is their Teriyaki Chicken plate. Love the touch with the Furikake over the rice!

Teriyaki Chicken Plate ($8) (Photo Credit: Tomoki Ito)
Teriyaki Chicken Plate ($8) (Photo Credit: Tomoki Ito)

Another favorite of mine is the Hayashi Rice Plate (the Japanese style beef stew). Here’s a shot of that gem.

Hayashi Rice plate ($8)
Hayashi Rice plate ($8)

Wifey likes their Buta Shougayaki (Pork Ginger) plate, which is strange because she’s not a fan of ginger. In fact, neither am I, but we both can sure whack this buggah like that. Here’s a shot of Yajima-Ya’s combination plate with Pork Ginger and Wafu style New York Steak w/ponzu.

Pork Ginger and Wafu w/ponzu Steak combination plate ($9)
Pork Ginger and Wafu w/ponzu Steak combination plate ($9)

It’s hard to tell, but there’s a stack of steak underneath all that onion and ginger.

One of the great things about a combination plate at a place like Yajima-Ya, is that your options are practically endless. Some days you might be in the mood for Japanese style fair, while on other days, you might want full on local kine grindz. And then, there are those days when you just can’t make up your mind. This is when you combine the flava of the East with that of the options from way out west.

Here are a couple of combination plates, blending Hawaii and Japan.

Tempura and Teri Chicken combination plate ($8.50)
Tempura and Teri Chicken combination plate ($8.50)

Samurai Donburi & Mushroom Chicken combo ($8.50)
Samurai Donburi & Mushroom Chicken combo ($8.50)

And of course, they still have their tried and true donburi, udon and soba items like their Samurai Donburi…

Samurai Donburi ($7.50)
Samurai Donburi ($7.50)

… the Bukkake Sanuki Udon…

Bukkake Sanuki Udon ($8)
Bukkake Sanuki Udon ($8)

… and their Sansai (Vegetable Tempura) Soba.

Sansai Soba ($6.50)
Sansai Soba ($6.50)

Other interesting menu items include the Kara Soba (Spicy Cold Soba) for $8.25, the $4 Breakfast Special (Rice with 1 scrambled egg, 2 slices of bacon & 3 slices of Portuguese Sausage), and a couple of Salad options (with a choice of Udon or Soba) for $8 each. A far cry from the humble beginnings when their main clientele was employees from the neighboring Yajima-Ya (Cosmo) service station.

A few things to note since my last article… Although they’ve expanded their menu options to include the local style favorites mentioned above, they’ve also streamlined operations, choosing to shorten their hours of operation, and do away with extraneous things that take time to prepare like their Belgian Waffles, specialty drinks, and their Daily Specials menu altogether.

Yajima-Ya Hours of operation
Yajima-Ya Hours of operation

Kudos to chef Ito-san and the rest of the Yajima-Ya family for constantly evolving and finding ways to please our palate. I just hope my food p0rn/eye candy did the food justice.

Check them out the next time you’re in the area (or even if you’re not!). Trust… You won’t be disappointed.

Yajima-Ya
@yajimayahawaii
Sheridan Street (Behind Hinone Mizunone, between South King & Liona)
Honolulu, HI. 96814 (Street View)
808-497-7991
Mon-Fri: 7am-5pm
Sat: 7:30am-4:30pm

Yatai in Hawaii (Part I) |  Yajima-Ya Revisited (Part II) 

 

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