Posts Tagged ‘salad’

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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Spicy Ahi & BBQ – Ono Japanese Eats in Pearl City

May 1, 2012

In part III of my Hawaii Ramen Quest, I paid IchiBen (in the Times Square Shopping Center) a visit. While walking over from my car, I noticed a fairly large crowd gathered around the entrance of another eatery nearby. That place was called Spicy Ahi & BBQ and I took a mental note to return again to give it a try. Here's what I found on that return visit.

Based on the name alone, I was pretty excited. I love me some good BBQ, and, if you've been following my Poke Paradise series at all, you'll know that I am a fanatic when it comes to raw seafood concoctions.

In addition to BBQ, Noodle and Nabemono items, Spicy Ahi & BBQ has a special "Spicy Ahi Bowl or Spicy Ahi over Fresh Vegetable" section on their menu with 14 different combinations incorporating Spicy Ahi.

Spicy Ahi & BBQ Menu
Spicy Ahi & BBQ Menu

I went with a two choice combination meal with, what else? Spicy Ahi and BBQ (Kalbi). Oh yeah!

Spicy Ahi & Kalbi (BBQ Beef Short Rib) Combination Dinner - $14.95
Spicy Ahi & Kalbi (BBQ Beef Short Rib) Combination Dinner – $14.95

Each combination dinner comes with a salad, miso soup, rice & pickles (tsukemono).

Salad and miso soup from Combination Dinner
Salad and miso soup from Combination Dinner

The salad comes "dry", giving you the opportunity to use the dressing of your choice from the selection on each table.

Salad dressings
Salad dressings

Wifey also went with a little combo action, choosing Misoyaki Salmon…

Misoyaki Salmon
Misoyaki Salmon

… and Udon as her two options.

Kake Udon
Kake Udon

Although prices are on the higher side for a casual, sit down dining type of experience, both food quality and quantity are definitely present. Outside of Waikele Center’s Restaurant Kunio, I would go as far to say that Spicy Ahi & BBQ is probably one of the area's best tasting Japanese restaurants. Definitely worth the wait.

Spicy Ahi & BBQ
98-1254 Kaahumanu Street, Suite A-13
Pearl City, HI 96782
(808) 488-4851
Tue-Thu: 11am-2pm (lunch), 5pm-9pm (dinner)
Fri-Sat: 11am-2pm (lunch), 5pm-9:30pm (dinner)

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Hungry for Some Soosh? How About Michinoku?

October 1, 2010

One hot summer night, the plan was to meet the ‘rents for a scrumptious Japanese dinner. Having exhausted all of our other choices for delectable Nihonjin restaurants, we suggested checking out Michinoku, as we’ve heard a lot of good things about them.

”みちのく!?”

(That’s my dad exclaiming “Michinoku!?”, at the top of his lungs, for those who can’t read Japanese. 😛 )

Apparently, moms and pops used to loooooove going to Michinoku back when they were on Kalakaua Avenue, and have been utterly depressed (not really, but it adds to the drama don’t it?) since hearing of their closing. So when they heard from us that they had re-opened their doors at the (slightly) more convenient Keeaumoku Street location (across Walmart), they were down to pound and get round.

The familiar Michinoku sign outside their new Keeaumoku Street location
The familiar Michinoku sign outside their new Keeaumoku Street location

The first thing I noticed was that familiar Japanese family-style warmth. We were greeted with a hearty “Irasshaimasei” with a bow and a smile, and then welcomed to our seats in their native Japanese tongue. I know this is cliché to say, but it honestly felt like I was eating at somebody’s house.

A patron getting personally helped to his seat
A patron getting personally helped to his seat

It’s a very small space with probably only about a half dozen or so tables for customers, plus the sushi bar, which matches the whole, feels-like-Japan vibe they got goin’ on.

Interior or Michinoku
Interior or Michinoku

On to the Soosh!

Moms and I ordered the Michinoku Special, which included Barachirashi, Sashimi, Kobachi, Oshinko, Chawanmushi, Salad, and Miso Soup for $16.

Michinoku Special (Barachirashi, Sashimi, Kobachi, Oshinko, Chawanmushi, Salad, and Miso Soup) - $16.
Michinoku Special (Barachirashi, Sashimi, Kobachi, Oshinko, Chawanmushi, Salad, and Miso Soup) – $16.

Although, it was quite delicious, I must admit that I was a little disappointed. I guess when I saw the word “chirashi”, I was expecting tons of fish on top of sushi rice, chirashi sushi style. My fault. I guess barachirashi is something different. I did enjoy the ikura quite a bit though. YUM!

Close up of the Ikura on top of the Barachirashi
Close up of the Ikura on top of the Barachirashi

Luckily, I also got an order of hamachi sushi on the side to fill my soosh void.

Hamachi Sushi order
Hamachi Sushi order

Pops ordered the Nigiri set, which comes in three sizes: Ume ($19.50), Momo ($26) and Sakura ($32). Don’t quite remember which one he got, but alls I know is that I was a little j!

Ume ($19.50), Momo ($26) or Sakura ($32) Nigiri Set
Ume ($19.50), Momo ($26) or Sakura ($32) Nigiri Set

Not in the mood for raw fish, wifey ordered their Salmon Teishoku, which includes Kobachi, Oshinko, Chawanmushi, Salad and Miso Soup for $14.

Salmon Teishoku (with Kobachi, Oshinko, Chawanmushi, Salad and Miso Soup) - $14
Salmon Teishoku (with Kobachi, Oshinko, Chawanmushi, Salad and Miso Soup) – $14

They also have teishokus with sashimi ($20), butterfish ($18), sanma ($13) or chicken teriyaki ($13), and other Japanese favorites like hot and cold udons, and a variety of donburis. Side orders of agedashi tofu (fried tofu), edamame (soybeans), chicken karaage (fried chicken), among others, will also tempt more than a few tummies.

So support local businesses and give the nice, Japanese family from Michinoku some love by eating there. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find my pops there randomly yelling ”みちのく!?” from time to time…

Michinoku
835 Keeaumoku St
Honolulu, HI 96814 (map)
(808) 942-1414
Hours: Mon: Closed, Tue-Sun: 11am-2pm (lunch), 5:30pm-10pm (dinner)

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. 🙂

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. 😛

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. 🙂

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 

Mid-Week BBQ

June 26, 2008

My buddy Tommy and his fiancee Magaret came down from Californ-I-A for our good friend Dicson’s (and Roda’s) wedding. Last night was their last night here, so in true, Hawaii fashion, we threw him a Pau Hana, BBQ style. Here are some scenes from the night.

Dics holding it down on the grill
Dics holding it down on the grill.

Closeup of BBQ chicken sticks
Closeup of BBQ chicken sticks

Ala and Tommy swinging together
Ala and Tommy swinging together

Almost pau
Almost pau

Tommy telling a story while Glenn shows us the gun show
Tommy tells a story while Glenn shows us the gun show

BBQ Hawaiian style - poke, miso soup, gau gee, crab dip, sushi, mac salad, salad, chow mein, bbq meats and more!
BBQ Hawaiian style – bbq meats, poke, crab dip, gau gee, chow mein, fried rice, miso soup, tossed salad, mac salad, sushi and more!

Uncle Glenn playing babysitter as everyone else shoots the breeze
Uncle Glenn plays babysitter as everyone else shoots the breeze

Talk to me:

  • Gots any of your own BBQ stories to share?
  • Looking forward to a little 4th of July BBQ action?
  • I’m looking for a new and interesting recipe for BBQ-ing. I got the typical miso chicken, red wine steaks, etc. action. Anyone care to share their winnah recipe for me to sample? 🙂
  • Or, if you don’t BBQ, what’s the best potluck stuffs from around town to pick up? (e.g. kalbi from Gina’s, fried chicken from KJ’s, etc.). Where else?

P.S. This blog is scheduled to be featured in the rail promo area of tomorrow’s print edition. Be sure to pick one up so you can see my beautiful mug, er, see what exciting post I have lined up for you guys (online) tomorrow! Hint: “Where In Hawaii…” Yeah YEAH!