Hawaii Hospitality - September/October 2013 - (Page 16)

NEWRes taurants Re st au r a n t K o 3196 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki • (808) 888-5975 Salmon and ikura kamameshi PHOTOS BY STACEY POPE S oft light filters into the open-air Restaurant Ko, melting into a serene setting dressed in clean white. Lanterns, tiny flower dishes and natural-fiber baskets trace cushions and tables. The mood is layered with a backdrop of contemporary jazz. And then, your first dish arrives. Ko’s minimalist canvas showcases a palette of handcrafted Japanese dishes, all exquisitely presented and lushly flavorful. Many are offered a la carte, such as simmered pumpkin, seafood kim chee nabe, seasoned octopus with wasabi and stewed dishes such as lotus-root manju or pork belly served with sweet shoyu. But if you want to experience the ultimate Ko has to offer, the way to go is kaiseki—the set menu. Ko executive chef Kaiseki is one of Japan’s most wonderful Noriaki Nakano culinary traditions, born from humble beginnings and elevated to high art. It is attentive not only to exquisite flavor, but also texture, appearance and color of both food and dishware. It frequently embraces local, seasonal ingredients; edible garnishes may be leaves and flowers, or crafted to resemble plants and animals. Each dish, in short, is a Clockwise from left: sashimi with shrimp and scallops; lotus- masterpiece, standing on its own until root manju; prime-beef steak the next plate is served. Ko takes kaiseki to the next level. Executive chef Noriaki Nakano, freshly transplanted from Osaka, says, “I wanted to offer something unique to the Islands: a modern take on kaiseki dishes, instead of the traditional style. It’s new and a little bit The restaurant’s signature mango tree different—and so far, we may be the only Japanese restaurant in Hawaii in which you can experience this.” Ko offers two kaiseki: the nine-dish Asahi Course and the 10-dish Ko Course. Each includes an appetizer, sashimi or salad, sushi, vegetable dish, main dish, vinaigrette dish, kamameshi dish and dessert. The Ko course also includes a fried dish. Sit back and take your time with each dish—the restaurant is open until 2 a.m. almost every night, enabling you to make the most of an evening out. A clean white backdrop for Restaurant Ko a colorful array of dishes Dinner: Mon., Wed. - Sat. 5 p.m. - 2 a.m.; Sun. 5 p.m. - Midnight; Happy Hour: 10 p.m. – Closing Free parking behind restaurant —Stacey Pope Rinka 1500 Kapiolani Blvd. • (808) 941-5159 • rinka-dining.com PHOTOS COURTESY YASUKUNI KAWAMURA T he entrance to Rinka is tucked away on Makaloa Street—a simple door, no windows, one sign. Step in, and bustling Honolulu fades against a serenely stark Japanese interior with a Zen rock garden entryway, streamlined sushi bar and two golden-wood dining rooms. It may be hidden, but this new restaurant is no secret to local Japanese nationals, who’ve been enjoying an authentic taste of home since Rinka opened. Owner and executive chef Kazufumi Sonoda oversees the restaurant’s traditional Japanese menu with the finesse of a master. Recently arrived from Osaka, Sonoda brings more than 22 years of experience as a chef, along with a culinary philosophy that, as he says, includes “putting everything—his heart and soul—into Awabe daikon (abalone daikon) every dish he creates, and taking the time to craft each to perfection.” He frequently incorporates locally farmed ingredients into dishes, and most of the restaurant’s fish is flown in directly from Tokyo’s world-famous Tsujiki Market. The result is elegant presentations bursting with both flavor and spirit, from dishes such as deep fried chikuwa tempura and grated yam in Tuna zuke donburi seaweed to grilled anago, steamed clams, crab tomato salad, golden-eye red snapper shabu shabu, herring ro 16 Hawaii Hospitality ■ September/October 2013 sushi, seafood gratin and abalone croquette. Sonoda suggests customers try at least one of Rinka’s streamlined interior dining room Rinka’s broiled dishes, which are not only succulent, but require extra effort to prepare. Rinka’s two prix fixe menus feature eight or more dishes ranging from appetizers and sashimi to simmered plates, salads, steamed fish, fried plates, Set-menu sushi plate hot pots and dessert. No advance reservations are necessary for course menus—simply settle at your table and decide how you’d like to dine. Rinka’s well-priced list of equally impressive beverages and sake could justify a visit purely on the basis of bar lounging. Return to Japan with a visit to Rinka, well worth finding in Honolulu. Rinka Dinner: Tues. - Sun., 5:30 p.m. - Midnight Validated parking on Kapiolani Blvd. —Stacey Pope Deluxe sushi combination dish http://www.rinka-dining.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hawaii Hospitality - September/October 2013

Garden Isle's Ohana
Social Media
Visitor Sector Renovations
Featured Department: Housekeeping
New Restaurants
HLHF Expo Recap
Clean Talk with Rose
Talk Story with George Szigeti
Association News/News Brief

Hawaii Hospitality - September/October 2013