Archive for July, 2013

Sushi on rails at Genki Sushi

By
July 9th, 2013



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Nadine Kam photos

Sushi arrives via Space Shuttles on Bullet Trains on a magnetic track at the newly renovated Genki Sushi at Ala Moana Center, which opens to the public July 10. If it all runs well at Ala Moana, the next stop for the Genki rail will be Waikele.

Rail may be a long way off for the city of Honolulu, but it’s up and running at the newly renovated Genki Sushi, on the mall level, mauka side of Ala Moana Center.

Leave it to the Japanese to bring the latest magnetic technology to sushi delivery. (Why are we even talking old steel-on-steel rail in Honolulu when the rest of the world has gone magnetic?)

The restaurant revealed America’s first double-rail sushi delivery system to the press this morning, and will open to the public tomorrow, allowing diners to place their orders at a touch-screen panel, then have their meal arrive by Bullet Train, F-1 Race Cars, Surf Board, Space Shuttle, and more.

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Gary Hofheimer photo

The system cost more than $1 million to install and it's both novel and fun. No more waiting and watching the old conveyor belts make their slow loop, and seeing someone else pick up the one dish you were ogling. I never realized how much we needed this. If you thought lines to get in here were long before, I imagine they'll be even longer as people rush in to try the new system.

If you can use an iPad and navigate your phone, you'll find the system easy to use. The pictorial screen is easy to read and use. You can opt for nigiri, sushi rolls, other items (i.e. deep-fried and cooked items) and desserts. Different pages show individual items, and you press a yellow tab to order. Plus signs add another of the same dish, and if you hit it by accident, just hit the minus button.

If you're too short to reach the touch screen, it can be detached and passed around so everyone can examine the menu and place their own orders.

Luddites, don't worry. There is still an old-fashioned conveyor line in place, so you can still grab what you want as the plates pass by.

This kind of system has been in use in Japan for three years. I think we should put a few of Japan’s engineers and restaurateurs in charge of Honolulu's rail project, and blast a few dozen our bureaucrats off via Space Shuttle where they can do no more harm.

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Genki Sushi is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 942-9102.

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The touch screen shows your customer or table number on the top right. You can choose your items and hit the yellow button on the screen to order. The plus and minus signs are to adjust the quantity of plates. Your order is rushed to you and once you remove your plates, hit a yellow button on the rail to send your train or car back to the kitchen.

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Robyn Gee places an order.

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These guests debate the many options.

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An order arrives via Space Shuttle. Each order is limited to four plates.

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Seared salmon we ordered through the touchscreen arrived on a surfboard.

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On hand for the renovated restaurant's blessing were, at left, Yasumasa Sudo, president of Genki Sushi USA, Inc. and senior managing director of Japan-based Genki Sushi Co., Ltd., and Yoko Kato, director and managing director of Genki Sushi Co., Ltd.

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Staffers surround the restaurant's entrance for the blessing.

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Dessert showed "sold out" on the touch screens, and were delivered the old-fashioned way, via waiter.

New menu at Oahu Country Club

By
July 9th, 2013



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Nadine Kam photos
Roasted New Zealand chazuke with steamed rice, baby bok choy, bubu arare, nori, and dashi being poured.

Oahu Country Club recently debuted a new lunch menu, and I had the opportunity to sample a few dishes during a meeting of the Bon Ton Girls June 19. I've been an honorary member since writing a story about them in 2008: http://archives.starbulletin.com/2008/05/29/features/story01.html

The women worked together at downtown's Bon Ton and Bon Marche stores in the 1930s and  '40s, and the few remaining Bon Ton Girls are now in their 80s and 90s, but still manage to get together from time to time, following a 68-year tradition of camaraderie.

They initially started getting together for private socializing in 1945. According to group historian Gladys Goka, it happened because the big group of high-profile girls couldn't help but make a commotion everywhere they went, and if they got too wild, their boss would hear about it the next day, so they started meeting in each others' homes to avoid prying eyes and gossips.

It's good to know they remain friends to this day.

Here's a look at some of the new dishes on the plate that day.

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Amuse bouche of fresh tomato and mozzarella.

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Pan-roasted Kona kampachi a la Grenobloise was fabulous, with its lemon-caper sauce, braised broccolini and other summer vegetables.

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An 8-ounce Kobe burger is topped with blue cheese, seared tomatoes and bacon on a toasted Kaiser roll, with housemade onion rings.

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Crisp Thai-style wok-fried snapper was served in a light red curry sauce with stir-fried vegetables and steamed rice.

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The dessert tray.

Your daily bread at Brug

By
July 8th, 2013



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Nadine Kam photos

Can't go wrong with bacon and cheese bread.

St. Germain is no more at Shirokiya Ala Moana. In its place is Brug, a Hokkaido institution for 35 years, known for its low-calorie, preservative-free breads, inspired by German baking techniques.

A grand opening for the new shop-within-a-shop took place July 3, with samples of 40 different kinds of bread set up. Brug actually has about 100 different styles of bread and pastry in its repertoire, ranging from distinctly Japanese, like the large and mini adzuki-filled anpans, to French- and Italian-American-style offerings, like the pizza-style offerings.

Customers lined up to fill their trays with varied mixes of croissants, cinnamon cake, apple danishes and specialty dry kase, with its light cream cheese center.

The carbs all wreaked havoc with my diet for the day, now that I'm keeping tabs via the My Fitness Pal app.

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Customers lined up to take their pick of about 100 different kinds of breads and pastries.

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Croissants are a staple at Brug.

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Bags of rye flour front an informational display featuring Brug founder Takemura Katsuhide.

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Samples of 40 different kinds of bread were set up for sampling.

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Pear danishes awaiting selection by customers lined up in the background.

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More selections to choose from.

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First course: Sushi Yuzu opens in Kapolei

By
July 2nd, 2013



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Nadine Kam photos
Sushi YuZu's Ko Olina roll, with California roll center, and topped with ahi, hamachi, salmon and avocado.

Sushi YuZu celebrated its grand opening at Ko ʻOlina Resort on June 23, a day after a preview event highlighting specialties created by the husband and wife team, Motoko “Moco” and Isamu Kubota, who have won a loyal following through a handful of eateries including Kai, Kaiwa, Hale Macrobiotic, Kai Wailea and the original YuZu Hawaii at the Ala Moana Hotel.

Their latest effort brings izakaya fare to West Oahu, with help from New Jersey transplant sushi Chef Ikunari Yamamura and local chef Brandan Bandith.

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YuZu's signature lotus root pizza.

True to Moco's macrobiotic roots, Sushi YuZu uses organic and natural ingredients and incorporates local produce when possible, although they concede not everyone is ready to a fully healthful approach, so there is a full complement of meat and seafood offerings. But, to put people on the right track, sushi is accompanied by YuZuʼs organic, wheat-free Tamari shoyu for the gluten-sensitive. And other sauces and dressings use vegan ingredients.

I was able to try several dishes on the menu, all winners, with price points from low (four pieces yakitori for $8.50, sushi rolls from $8.95), to high, to suit any budget.

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Sushi Yuzu is at 92-1047 Olani St., behind Just Tacos. Call 808.678.1155 or visit www.YuZuHawaii.com

For now, the restaurant is open for dinner only, from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.(last rrder) Sundays to Thursdays, and 4:30 to 11:30 p.m. (last order), Fridays and Saturdays.

During happy hour from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. to closing daily, patrons sitting at the bar can enjoy "Five 0," specials of $5 drinks and pupu including local chicken karaage, organic fried potatoes, spicy poke nachos, California roll, spicy king salmon roll, and more.

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Isamu and Motoko "Moco" Kubota, with their restaurant's young yuzu tree.

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Favorite food alert: Crisp-skinned organic potatoes drizzled with truffle oil and organic ketchup. (These potatoes don't need the ketchup.)

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Grilled squid was our waiter's favorite dish, amazingly tender, if somewhat alien looking, cooked with Hawaiian sea salt, pepper and tamari.

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Rock shrimp tempura over spicy yuzu ahi roll.

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Kurobuta chorizo dotted with goma and shichimi pepper. (more…)

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