Posts Tagged ‘sake’

DASH Gastropub – Gastrolicious!

April 1, 2013

Wikipedia defines the term “gastropub” as “a portmanteau of gastronomy and pub” and refers to a bar or restaurant that serves high-end beer and food. While gastronomy is the study of food and culture, with a particular focus on gourmet cuisine, a pub is not usually known for more than just beer and “bar food.” So when you put the two together, it is quite the oxymoron that deserves further investigation.

Enter DASH Gastropub, the relatively new (they just celebrated their 1 year anniversary on Feb 10th), 5,000 square-foot hotspot located in the old American Savings Bank location on the corner of Young and McCully. As the first locale in Hawaii to use the term Gastropub in their name, it has come with a fair amount of self-appointed pressure. It is a powerful word with great responsibility, but they’ve definitely got all the right pieces in place to make it happen.

DASH Gastropub partners Hyuk Kim, Alysha Tanabe & Shane Tsubaki (Photo Courtesy: Shane Tsubaki)
DASH Gastropub partners Hyuk Kim, Alysha Tanabe & Shane Tsubaki (Photo Courtesy: Shane Tsubaki)

DASH is actually an acronym made up of the four partners’ first names. Along with a silent partner who wishes to remain anonymous, Alysha (Tanabe), Shane (Tsubaki) and Executive Chef Hyuk (Kim) have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the bar and food service industry with stints at places like Remedy Sports Lounge, Maile’s Place, and the once uber popular Osake Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge. Well known food guru and local celebrity Grant Kawasaki (Hawaiian Grown TV & Hawaiian Grown Kitchen) also acts as a consultant here, so you know their food is always going to be on point.

As a lover of both food and beer, this concept of “gastropub-ery” is a dream come true. Here’s a look at what we pounded

Home made Fresh Kettle Chips (Seasoned fresh cut potatoes fried golden brown and crispy served with strawberry guava ketchup - $7)
Home made Fresh Kettle Chips (Seasoned fresh cut potatoes fried golden brown and crispy served with strawberry guava ketchup – $7)

Rainbow Sashimi Special - $16
Rainbow Sashimi Special – $16

Oysters on the 1/2 Shell (Half dozen Gulf oysters served on shaved ice with citrus oroshi, tobikko, jalapeno masago, & spicy ponzu sauce - $12)
Oysters on the 1/2 Shell (Half dozen Gulf oysters served on shaved ice with citrus oroshi, tobikko, jalapeno masago, & spicy ponzu sauce – $12)

Ahi Tataki (Fresh Hawaiian Big-Eye Ahi with sunomono, yuzu, tobikko, soy vinaigrette and a dash of white truffle oil - $18)
Ahi Tataki (Fresh Hawaiian Big-Eye Ahi with sunomono, yuzu, tobikko, soy vinaigrette and a dash of white truffle oil – $18)

Beef Sashimi (Seared USDA Choice filet mignon with minced garlic and soy vinaigrette - $16)
Beef Sashimi (Seared USDA Choice filet mignon with minced garlic and soy vinaigrette – $16)


“DASH” Rib Eye (1 lb seared USDA Choice Rib-Eye cubed pupu style with sautéed Hamakua Alii oyster mushrooms and onions – $21)

As if that wasn’t enough, DASH is also chock-full of wines, sakes, beers (crafts & imports) and specialty cocktails. So far, it looks like they are well on their way to living up to that self-appointed pressure. Pub? Yes. Gastropub? Definitely. But here’s a portmanteau I’d like to propose to help sum up my experiences there:

Gastronomical!

(Previously published in Lawai`a Magazine)

DASH Gastropub
1018 McCully Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
(808) 943-1025
Tue-Sat: 6pm-12am
Mon-Fri: 4pm-2am
Sat & Sun: 6pm-2am

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EATS! – Zen Shu

March 3, 2009

First of all, I’d like to send mad love to errryone who posted comments to yesterday’s “You Know You’re Local If…” blog. It garnered a world Honolulu Advertiser World Wide Ed record setting 100+ comments. First time evah!ย The record befo’ dat was a whoppin’ 42 (which was also a record at the time). You guys are da bes’! Appreciate.

Not sure when the next triple digit action goin’ be, but I can now die a happy man… Hehe!

OK, so this weekend we went to check out the (somewhat) new izakaya on Kapahulu called Zen Shu (opened back in November where the old Harpo’s Pizza used to be – across Rainbows). I wen’ rush to put the photos together so I could be the first bloggah to write about it up in hurr, but then my bubble was bursted (is that even a word?). I did a search and saw that aunty sistah Melissa alreadyย dropped some knowledgeย on all y’all. Das alright. I’ll present the updated, 2K9 version I guess.

Parking’s pretty much non-existent. Just gotta find um on Kapahulu or Kanaina if can.

Zen Shu - Sake Sushi Sports - Sign
Zen Shu – Sake Sushi Sports – Sign

The interior is off the hook! You can tell they’ve spent big bucks to bring the old Harpo’s look up to speed to the year 2000. ๐Ÿ˜›

A glimpse of the sushi bar when you first walk in
A glimpse of the sushi bar when you first walk in

The dining area is on the smaller side, as the other half the establishment is reserved for the sports bar type.

View from the dining area
View from the dining area

And then there was the EATS!

Seared Seafood Summer Rolls - Seared Hokkaido Scallop and Shrimp with Alii Mushroom and Sweet Aioli - $9
Seared Seafood Summer Rolls – Seared Hokkaido Scallop and Shrimp with Alii Mushroom and Sweet Aioli – $9

Probably one of our favorites of the night. Nice, rich, flavor.

Garlic Dusted Sake Scented Edamame - Sake Steamed Edamame (soybeans), Garlic Panko Dust - $4.50
Garlic Dusted Sake Scented Edamame – Sake Steamed Edamame (soybeans), Garlic Panko Dust – $4.50

Kinda bland, but ok to munch on while waiting for the rest of our grub to arrive.

Sake Dill Nage Manila Clams - 1 lb. Steamed Manila Clams in Sake Dill Nage - $16
Sake Dill Nage Manila Clams – 1 lb. Steamed Manila Clams in Sake Dill Nage – $16

These clams had an odd taste to them. Couldn’t put a finger on it.

Double Stuffed Portobello Mushroom - King Crab, Shrimp, Enoki, Shimegi, Shiitake Stuffed Portobello Mushroom - $12.75
Double Stuffed Portobello Mushroom – King Crab, Shrimp, Enoki, Shimegi, Shiitake Stuffed Portobello Mushroom – $12.75

One of the better choices of the night. Liked the little tease of tobiko.

Wok Fried Lemongrass Pork Chops - Wok Fried Thin Sliced Pork Chops - $12.50
Wok Fried Lemongrass Pork Chops – Wok Fried Thin Sliced Pork Chops – $12.50

Very unique. Never had pork chops prepared like this before. The flavor was really good, but kinda wished there were more “good” pieces and that they weren’t so burnt.

Steak & Eggs - Pulehu Ribeye, Ikura, Wakame Daikon Salad, Yuzu Soy Batablanc - $18
Steak & Eggs – Pulehu Ribeye, Ikura, Wakame Daikon Salad, Yuzu Soy Batablanc – $18

A let down. You would think it would be a winnah. Steak = good. Ikura = Good. Steak and Ikura… didn’t translate well for me.

Hamachi Zukepacho - Marinated Hamachi with Goma, Negi, and Roasted Nori - $12
Hamachi Zukepacho – Marinated Hamachi with Goma, Negi, and Roasted Nori – $12

Hard to ruin raw Hamachi. Was pretty good. Kinda wished they used flavored nori.

Ama Ama Ebi Ebi Apua`a Roll - Amaebi, Ebi Tempura and Shiso - $16.50
Ama Ama Ebi Ebi Apua`a Roll – Amaebi, Ebi Tempura and Shiso – $16.50

Liked the idea of ama ebi and ebi tempura together.

Overall, a decent dining experience. It’s hard because when I think Izakaya, I compare everything to the best one: Tokkuri-Tei. There really is NO competition. I like the ambience however and I like their concept of a sports bar on the side. I would probably come back for that, as well as try stuff from their sake collection. Their bathrooms were clean too, and for those who know me, that’s up there…

Leonard's Bakery Sign at night
Leonard’s Bakery Sign at night

You know we had to go for dessert at Leonard’s aftahwards.

The posse outside Leonard's Bakery
The posse outside Leonard’s Bakery

Good weekend with good friends.

Talk to me!
* Did you eat anywhere special this weekend?
* What did you think of the food (photos) at Zen Shu?
* Interested in trying it out yourself?
* Got any other suggestions for places to grind?

Happy Girl’s Day (and Tuesday) y’all!

Eating Your Way Through Japan – Part II

January 19, 2009
Part I |  Part II 

And… we’re… back. I know, I know, it’s been a while since part one, but no get all habuts. Takes long time fo put this together you know. ๐Ÿ™‚

We last left off sipping tea at Ito-Ya, waiting for the pops-recommended, kushikatsu joint to open up (opens at 5PM). When the clock hit 5, it was time to head over to Isomura’s in Ginza.

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Isomura’s in Ginza

The general concept of kushikatsu is that you get a variety of food items, battered up, deep fried, and served to you on a stick (kushi). The secret, according to pops, is to go right when they open, as they have a happy hour special: 12 courses (items), beer, soup, rice, tea and dessert all for X Yen. Hehe, sorry, I don’t remember how much it was, but I believe it was around $20 U.S.

The jubilee of choices came in the following sequence:

  1. Beef
  2. Shi-wrapped Shrimp
  3. Shiitake Mushroom
  4. Scallop
  5. Snow Peas
  6. Corn
  7. Asparagus
  8. Shrimp/Prawn
  9. Pork
  10. Bacon-wrapped Potato
  11. Tofu
  12. Fish Eggs

Here’s a lil’ preview:

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Snow peas and corn kushikatsu

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Biggest, deep fried asparagus you’ve ever seen!

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Prawn kushikatsu

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Tofu and fish eggs kushikatsu

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
You put your stick in the fishy’s mouth after your done. We did some work son!

The next morning, we tried the other breakfast buffet option in our hotel, Taronga.

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Inside Taronga Grill and Wine

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
My plate full o’ goodies

The atmosphere and food choices seemed a little higher scaled, but the options weren’t as plentiful. If I were to choose one, I’d stick with Ocean Dining.

With our fill of the Tokyo/Odaiba areas, it was off to adventure the rest of this beautiful country. We headed to Nagano, whose specialty is soba.

Since we were in the mood for rahmen yet again, we combined our hunger with Nagano’s finest and found a little shop that served soba, rahmen style.

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
I wish I could read kanji better so I could tell you the name of this place. ๐Ÿ˜›

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Char siu rahmen soba

Some city browsing/touring followed and, on the way back to our hotel, we came across this neat little restaurant called Mountain Q Hawaiian Diner. Yep, that’s right, “Hawaiian” food in the middle of Japan.

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Mountain Q Hawaiian Diner

Inside Mountain Q was real kitchie (sp?), with your typical hula girl and grass skirt-type decorations, but the most interesting thing was eating “SPAM nigiri” (instead of SPAM musubi) while listening to KSSK on the radio.

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
SPAM Onigiri

The next morning, we woke up early to go check out what Nagano is also famous for: Oyaki, a baked, almost mochi type shell, stuffed with veggies. On the way to Zenkoji temple, you will find this town’s popular oyaki shop on the right hand side.

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Popular Oyaki Shop in Nagano

Inside, there is an omiyage area, where you can buy your oyaki to go. In the back however, is where the magic happens… the area where they actually make the oyaki over an open fire. This is where we had to be.

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Where the oyaki are made

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Flames for two cooking spots, one to cook the flat sides, and one to cook the edges

The family seemed to take a liking to us, as they fed us a complete meal (soup and tea) with our oyaki, and they also offered to teach us how to make them ourselves (a class usually reserved for special days).

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Our oyaki meal

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Us gettin’ our oyaki on

Then it was off to another town in Yudanaka for more adventures. We stayed at Ryokan Biyunoyado (Yudanaka View Hotel), an excellent Western style Ryokan (onsen hotel) in the middle of a town known for onsens (hot springs).

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Yudanaka View Hotel

That evening, we were treated to the hotel’s inclusive dinner, which included soup, sashimi, soba, saba, buttered beef, mushroom (straight from the bark!), fresh fruits (Nagano is also known for their apples), sake, and the local beer Shiga Kogen Pale Ale.

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Our Spread

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Mushrooms, as fresh as you can get. Nuts yeah?

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Shiga Kogen Pale Ale

The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel as well, which included miso soup, salad, ham, eggs, salmon, udon, and fresh apple juice.

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Our morning spread

To leave enough for part 3, I think we’ll end it here… But before we go, here’s a parting shot from Yudanaka’s famous monkey park. Yep, sending you off with a little monkey bidness. ๐Ÿ™‚

Eating Your Way Through Japan - Part II - World Wide Ed
Monkeys from Yudanaka Monkey Park

Have a fun day Monday y’all!

Part I |  Part II 

Wedding Day Recap – Part II

December 16, 2008
Part I |  Part II 

And… we’re… back… Let’s put a wrap on all this wedding talk with Part II of my Wedding Day Recap. It’s been what, almost a month, and I’m still blabbing away about it. Sorry!

Like before, we’re using Noreen’s day-of Twittering as the framework for this post. Enjoy!

What a nice cake! 12:23 PM Nov 22nd from TwitPic

Cherry Blossom cake
Cherry Blossom cake

Ed’s Comments: Cherry blossom cake went with our Asian/Japanese theme.

Good food at Sheraton Waikiki. Liked the soup, especially on a rainy day. 12:30 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Awww what a cute couple! 12:36 PM Nov 22nd from TwitPic

Engagement Photo Display
Engagement Photo Display

Ed’s Comments: Love Story Weddings, son! They do good work.

Now for the best part — dessert! 12:37 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

@worldwideed‘s mom is singing a traditional Japanese song about love for the couple. She’s a good singer! 12:47 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Mamasan singing Ai No Sanka
Mamasan singing “Ai No Sanka”

Ed’s Comments: Didn’t think I’d be as touched as I was. Much love ma!

It’s like watching a professional singer. She’s awesome! 12:49 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Ed’s Comments: Thanks ‘reens! She was supposed to be a pro back in the day in Japan, but chose family. Thanks or I may never be here today… Hehe!

Now for intro of family. Minna Sugimoto, @worldwideed‘s sister, is co-emcee and speaking in Japanese. 12:54 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Bruddah Bryan and Minna Sugimoto
Bruddah Bryan and Minna Sugimoto

Ed’s Comments: Thanks big sis!

Bruddah Bryan is scoping out the single ladies in the bridal party 12:57 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Groomsman’s advice to bride- don’t listen to @worldwideed! 1:02 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

What a jerk! :P
What a jerk! ๐Ÿ˜›

Ed’s Comments: And I consider him a friend… *sigh*

Learning a lot about @worldwideed. Something about an inflatable doll named Nani??? 1:06 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

More jerks!
More jerks!

Ed’s Comments: The worst part was that I couldn’t defend myself. Haha! “Nani,” just so you know, was a gag birthday gift and I brought it home to the boys as a practical joke. Oh brother!

Bruddah Bryan is trying to play matchmaker for bridal party 1:07 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Matchmaker Bryan
Matchmaker Bryan

Ed’s Comments: Quote of the day, “Single single or boyfriend single?”

Our table is making our own jokes. Must be the beers talking. 1:11 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

@worldwideed is apparently an attention whore, according to best man. “Puppydog stuck in human body” 1:18 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon in reply to worldwideed

Ed’s Comments: Perhaps I should reconsider my pick for best man. ๐Ÿ˜‰

@worldwideed apparently also has a light blue security blanket. Love best man’s speech! 1:19 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon in reply to worldwideed

All these guys are jerks aren't they? *grin*
All these guys are jerks aren’t they? *grin*

Ed’s Comments: Lies, all LIIIIIEEEEESSS! Hehe!

Banzai toast time! Raise em up! 1:23 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

That was the most spirited Banzai toast ever! 1:25 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Props to Dave!
Props to Dave!

Ed’s Comments: Dave’s self-proclaimed “Best Banzai speech in the history of all weddings!”

It’s like Battle of the Banzais! 1:32 PM Nov 22nd from TwitPic

Props to B.I.L. Lee!
Props to B.I.L. Lee!

Noreen's view of Lee
Noreen’s view of Lee

Ed’s Comments: Not to be outdone, Dave friend (and my brother-in-law) Lee does his version.

Time for Kagami Biraki or opening of sake barrel. I’m Japanese and never heard of this before so 1st time for me. 1:28 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

1-2-3 YOISHO!
1-2-3 YOISHO!

Ed’s Comments: Oh yeah! You heard it here first! As Borat would say, “Very Niiiiice!” ‘Twas a big hit with the guests, especially the sake drinking part. LOL!

Bouquet toss time. Love how they let it drop on ground. 1:53 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Bouquet Toss!
Bouquet Toss!

Ed’s Comments: You could tell they wanted it, but the ladies tried to ack like they didn’t. It was cute.

Garter toss time. @worldwideed pulled Granny panties off Maile! 1:56 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Gettin' In Thurr!
Gettin’ In Thurr!

Ed’s Comments: Love the reaction of Jon and Ann in the back!

@worldwideed is singing to Maile. So sweet and a little off-key. 2:00 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Why are Jon and Justin laughing?
Why are Jon and Justin laughing?

Ed’s Comments: Haha! I don’t know what performance you were listening to ‘reens, but it surely wasn’t mine! *grin* Nah, it was a little off key (only in the beginning! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), but to defend myself, I was pretty nervous and drunk all at the same time. I brought it home after my nerves settled down though! *grin*

Got some sake from @worldwideed‘s dad. Smell reminds me coloring Easter eggs. 2:02 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Sake to Me!
Sake to Me!

Ed’s Comments: Pops was the perfect person to be pouring that to the guests. He looked so happy!

Slideshow time 2:04 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

@worldwideed: such a cute baby! 2:09 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon in reply to worldwideed

Baby WWE
Baby WWE

Ed’s Comments: No comment.

Slideshow included video of @worldwideed‘s proposal. He managed to ask her to marry him without literally asking. So sweet! I have tears! 2:17 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Ed’s Comments: I thought about posting the video to YouTube for a split second, but thought that I should save that as a private moment between wife, me and the hundreds of guests at the wedding. Hehe! Maybe one day in the future… who knows!?

Gotta go UH game so leaving wedding. Thanks & congrats @worldwideed and Maile! 2:27 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Ed’s Comments: Much love again ‘reens! That was awesome. Hope you were still able to enjoy the wedding in-between tweets!

Whoa! Validated parking cost $8! Guess that’s Waikiki for ya! 2:36 PM Nov 22nd from TwitterFon

Well, that’s it. The last of the wedding posts (*crossing fingers*). Wipe those tears away though. I’ll be back for more useless nonsense tomorrow! Holla!

P.S. If you missed it, be sure to check out my article “How to Get Married In Hawaii,” on newsstands now! ๐Ÿ™‚

Part I |  Part II 

Osake to Me! Honolulu’s Newest Hotspot for Meets and Eats: Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge

October 1, 2006

[Editor’s Note: Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge closed its doors in April, 2007]

OK, so I lied.

We were supposed to still be in Kauai right about now, eating more of the mouth-watering treats that the Garden Isle had to offer. Instead, here we are, back on Oahu, consuming treats of a different kind: Sake and Sushi. But trust… whether you’re a Japanese fusion food fan or a nightlife neophyte, this’ll definitely be worth your while.

Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge sign outside
Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge sign outside

My initial exposure to Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge was actually at a work function. I got invited to the Oxygen Network’s VIP Launch Party, which was hosted here at one of today’s swankiest hotspots. I couldn’t stay long that night, but during that time, I quickly sensed a sexy, ultra cool, loungy vibe goin’ on that I just had to get more of.

Living room style lounge areas with pool tables in the background
Living room style lounge areas with pool tables in the background

Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge (formerly known as KOI) opened their doors in January of 2006, taking the place and space of the old Blue Tropix Nightclub (remember ‘dem wild monkeys in the news?). Recollecting what this once desolate space on Kapiolani Boulevard used to look like and seeing what they’ve done to it today, one would never think that it was the same place. It was almost as if Ty and his jolly gang came to town to work their magic for an episode of Extreme Home Makeover. And in speaking with Osake’s General Manager Grant Yonehiro, this was done intentionally.

“We wanted to enlighten the atmosphere and create a sort of Japanese elegance,” said Yonehiro.

An elegance that led all the way down to the details of the Koi filter system, which was intentionally made audible to create a soothing ambience while enjoying your meal.

Osake’s is the brainchild of a group of young and ambitious 20-30-somethings: Justin Henson, Keoni Chan, Shane Tsubaki and Brian Hasegawa, who “oh-by-the-way” already own and operate the hip and successful sports bar above called Skybox Sports Lounge. No matter how old you are or where you are in your professional life, you gotta admire and respect these young entrepreneurs for having the vision and seeing it through. Mad props guys… Mad props!

But um, back to lecture at hand…

So why this, why now? What can one expect to find when coming down for dining pleasures? Grant is glad you asked.

“We offer something different. A gourmet sushi experience in a lively, lounge atmosphere. Why sit in traffic?”

(! – Osake offers a unique, happy hour on handrolls from 5-8PM every night, except Tuesdays when they are closed. You can order these select sushi handrolls during this time: spicy tuna, California roll, tuna salad, shrimp, and veggie for just a buck. Hmm… Yummy $1 handrolls or battling through stressful rush hour traffic? What do you think?)

17 handrolls for two people? Don't hate!
17 handrolls for two people? Don’t hate! ๐Ÿ™‚

During this interview session, I was also fortunate enough to chat with Osake’s Master Sushi Chef Norlan Horita (of Sushi Supreme fame), who proceeded to present dish after delectable dish.

First up was a special, not-yet-on-the-menu sushi sampler, which is to be consumed in a specific sequence. Since it is not yet on Osake’s menu, I’ll have bruddah Norlan explain the dish in his own words:

“From left to right we have a maguro nigiri, a traditional sushi item with a little twist. It features thinly sliced myoga and a drizzle of unagi glaze. Next we have another traditional menu item, salmon or ‘sake’ nigiri, that has been given even more of a twist. I have given the salmon nigiri a generous amount of O-sake’s (soon to be) world famous soy vinaigrette, and then piled on some katsuo bushi. Next is what I like to call my ‘sweet snapper surprise.’ I took a simple shiromi nigiri, gave it a squeeze of lime, a slice of jalapeno, piled high with chiffonade of fresh chiso, and finished off with a colorful topping of citrus tobiko. Last but not least, we have our ahi tataki nigiri with our world famous firecracker sauce. In this dish, the conversion from left to right is a transition from old to new, and also from mild to spicy. On the left we have a very traditional nigiri with traditional toppings and sauce. As the dish progresses to the right, it evolves with more new wave sauces and dressings and increases in spice.”

Left to right: Maguro Nigiri with a drizzle of unagi glaze; Sake (salmon) Nigiri with O-sake's soy vinaigrette, topped with katsuo bushi; Sweet Snapper Surprise with a squeeze of lime, a slice of jalapeno, piled high with chiffonade of fresh chiso, and finished off with a colorful topping of citrus tobiko; and Ahi Tataki Nigiri with firecracker sauce
Left to right: Maguro Nigiri with a drizzle of unagi glaze; “Sake” (salmon) Nigiri with O-sake’s soy vinaigrette, topped with katsuo bushi; “Sweet Snapper Surprise” with a squeeze of lime, a slice of jalapeno, piled high with chiffonade of fresh chiso, and finished off with a colorful topping of citrus tobiko; and Ahi Tataki Nigiri with firecracker sauce.

They were all lusciously lip-smacking, but if I had to pick my favorites, I’d go with the oshake (salmon) and ahi tataki nigiris.

One of their more popular items (and self-proclaimed prized dish) on the menu is the Filet Mignon Beef Sashimi with Soy Vinaigrette. It’s not actually raw, just cut sashimi style. This is one you gotta try!

Filet Mignon Beef Sashimi with Garlic & Soy Vinaigrette, $16 - This is the prized dish of Osake. Quickly seared with herbs and spices, then cut sashimi style. Drizzled with their famous soy vinaigrette and garlic. Served with organic greens
Filet Mignon Beef Sashimi with Garlic & Soy Vinaigrette, $16 – This is the prized dish of Osake. Quickly seared with herbs and spices, then cut sashimi style. Drizzled with their famous soy vinaigrette and garlic. Served with organic greens.

Another popular dish is their Portabella and Fire Roasted Red Bell Pepper Quesadilla with Feta and Mozzarella (and choice of meat). CPK ain’t got nothin’ on ’em!

Portabella and Fire Roasted Red Bell Pepper Quesadilla with Feta and Mozzarella - Served with their spicy hoisin vinaigrette and organic greens. This crowd pleaser is available with your choice of any one item: Original ($8), Chicken ($10), Pork ($10), Steak ($12), Shrimp ($12)
Portabella and Fire Roasted Red Bell Pepper Quesadilla with Feta and Mozzarella – Served with their spicy hoisin vinaigrette and organic greens. This crowd pleaser is available with your choice of any one item: Original ($8), Chicken ($10), Pork ($10), Steak ($12), Shrimp ($12).

Next we have the Sweet and Spicy Szechwan Chicken. If you’re worried about spiciness, no worries, I can’t handle spicy food for beans, but this one I could handle. Chance um!

And yes, that is an empty space in the bottom left corner. Chef Norlan couldn’t wait to dig in before I took the photo! That should tell you how good this dish is! *grin*

Sweet and Spicy Szechwan Chicken, $10 - An adaptation of a northern Chinese dish. In this recipe, they stir-fry bell peppers, carrots, and onions with their own Szechwan glaze
Sweet and Spicy Szechwan Chicken, $10 – An adaptation of a northern Chinese dish. In this recipe, they stir-fry bell peppers, carrots, and onions with their own Szechwan glaze.

On a previous trip to Osake’s, I ordered their famous Dynamite Chicken. Here’s a snap of the dish and associated caption/description. Yeah gang, it IS as good as it looks!

O-sake's Famous Dynamite Chicken, $10 - An ancient secret recipe passed down through many generations. Tastefully redesigned to appease the modern palette. Instantly addicting!
O-sake’s Famous Dynamite Chicken, $10 – An ancient secret recipe passed down through many generations. Tastefully redesigned to appease the modern palette. Instantly addicting!

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I didn’t even get a chance to try this next dish: the Ahi Tartare Martini. I was so intent on getting the interview and all the photos right, that it slipped my mind. According to the menu, it is Chef Norlan’s all star pick, so I guess we’re just going to have to make a return visit and give it a whirl!

Ahi Tartare Tataki Martini, $10 - Chef Norlan's all star pick, a must try! Ponzu lime ceviche jous, myogo, tobiko and chiso. Served in a martini glass
Ahi Tartare Tataki Martini, $10 – Chef Norlan’s all star pick, a must try! Ponzu lime ceviche jous, myogo, tobiko and chiso. Served in a martini glass.

Lastly, we had the “Bomb”-ucha Roll. You don’t really get a good appreciation of the engineering that goes into creating this bridge-like masterpiece at first glance, but when you realize what it is and what it contains, you’re floored. Mystified? OK, I’ll animate it for you to show you what lurks inside: crispy shrimp tempura, unagi, crab, kaiwara and cucumber!

The Bomb-ucha (Bumbucha) Roll, $16 - Crispy shrimp tempura, unagi, crab, kaiware, and cucumber with 3 special sauces
The “Bomb”-ucha (Bumbucha) Roll, $16 – Crispy shrimp tempura, unagi, crab, kaiware, and cucumber with 3 special sauces.

(! – They recently started offering teishoku, or set menu items, so if you’ve been here before and missed it, go on back.)

Convinced yet my pretties?

Well, if the food above isn’t enough to get your mouth watering, how about the prospect of tasting one of 34 different brands of sake (and counting) they carry. It’s their namesake after all.

“We have customers in the know who buy bottles and bottles at a time from us,” proclaims Yonehiro.

Even if you’re a sake beginner, you’ll find a warm home here, as well as in your tummy.

“We make it a point to train and educate our staff with all of our sake products, so if you have any questions or just want to try, come on down and see us,” says Yonehiro.

If you’re more of a beer fan, Osake carries all of the imports you expect to find, and even a rarely seen Japanese import beer called Echigo. Kanpai!

If you’re throwing a special get-together or just want to ack PIMP for one night, Osake’s even has a VIP room that is available for rent.

A bit of a night owl are we? Well, bring your dancing shoes to dinner because we haven’t even mentioned the “it” hotspot that this quaint restaurant metamorphosizes into when the clock strikes 10PM.

That’s right, every night from 10PM-2AM, Osake’s goes from chic eatery to bumpin’ hotspot in a flash. Friday nights – promoted by local radio station Hot 93.9 – is their busiest night, bringing in 1,000+ of Hawaii’s most modish peeps. Saturday nights are just as hot. Wednesday nights offer live music from 7-10PM and is also known as martini night.

No matter what craving it is you may have, Osake Sushi Bar & Lounge is sure to satisfy. Good eats, a wide assortment of refreshing beverages, live music, scratching your dancing itch, people watching, whatever. Osake is where you’ll find it. Support your local businesses and go check um out won’tcha?

Aren’t you glad we flew back from Kauai for this?

Master Sushi Chef Norlan Horita (left) and General Manager Grant Yonehiro welcome you to the sushi bar at Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge
Master Sushi Chef Norlan Horita (left) and General Manager Grant Yonehiro welcome you to the sushi bar at Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge

Osake Sushi Bar & Lounge
1700 Kapiolani Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96814 (map)
(808) 956-1600
Wednesday through Monday from 5-10PM for dinner and 10PM-2AM for after hours. Closed on Tuesdays.