Take a Bite

Wagyu and Seafood Plazas need to step up their game

July 13th, 2016

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Wagyu striploin, pictured, and ribeye are among the best offerings at Wagyu Plaza, at a cost of $35/$20 for ribeye, and $32/$19 for striploin. This is the $19 portion. You can guestimate the size by the size of the lemon round and pat of butter. (It's smaller than you'd imagine from the photo.) I asked for medium rare but got well done because it continues to cook on the sizzling platter. It doesn't help much if you order rare. A friend ordered that on another occasion and it turned out well-done.

The idea of $45 steak in a food court setting was so audacious, it had to be good, real good to appeal to people more accustomed to paying closer to $10 or max $15 to eat in such an environment.

So, I had some hope that Vintage Cave's Wagyu Plaza and Seafood Plaza at the new Shirokiya Japan Village Walk would be able to bring some of the mystique and extravagance of the original, exclusive Vintage Cave restaurant to this high-concept food court.

Unfortunately, it doesn't. The only thing high-end about the plazas are their prices, starting at about $19 and running up to $45 in the center of a mass feeding frenzy.

Ugh, for what amounts to about $50 to $100 for two, there are a lot more pleasant places I would rather be, with a lot better food.

Food is one thing; untrained staff and lack of customer service is another. They did not consider that people might not finish and want a to-go container. They did not consider people might not be willing to hunt down drinks then bring them back to be rung up, and many other basics better executed by other outlets offering $8 food service.

My full review is in this week's Crave section. This is just a brief sampling.
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Shirokiya Japan Village Walk Wagyu and Seafood Plazas are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Wagyu katsu is $19 for 100 grams or 3-1/2 ounces, $32 for 200 grams). Even considering the smaller portion, it doesn't look as delicious as in the menu photo below, and is a big meh, not nearly as marbled and juicy as wagyu at other restaurants in town.

plaza meat

Pork katsu fared better.

Wafu burger was plain and undistinctive.

I was satisfied with a $22 tempura bowl with white rice (there's no other starch option). For the price, it included one piece of shrimp, white fish, a mixed fritter of scallops and chopped shrimp, and eel with the muddy taste of lake fish and catfish.

The saffron rice in a dish of paella from Seafood Plaza was delicious, but the shrimp was bland. Mussels and clams were decent. The dish did draw a lot of stares and comments of , "That looks so good," while I was eating. That's how close everyone passes by while you're dining.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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