Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gaku, Sushi Izakaya - 1329 S. King St, Honolulu, HI 96814

So I spent 2 hours walking around, looking for a good place to eat... settled here, a small local Japanese restaurant. I chose it for multiple reasons. First off, I wanted good sushi. I also liked the setting. It was relatively busy at 7 pm so I trusted other peoples' judgment. I'll have to post some pictures of the place later. From the outside, you can't really see much... crammed between 2 other businesses with a mock traditional Japanese style. Inside, somewhat narrow, immediately you notice the sushi bar in an L-shape, seating about 10 or so, plus smaller tables on the side... 3 or 4 sushi chefs/assistants. Towards the back, though I didn't investigate too much, some enclosed areas with the traditional Japanese seating (low to the ground, shoes off). I learn the terminology as I go. Music was I believe 80's and 90's American.
On to the food... hold on... onto the drinks. Started with a cold sake. Thank you Cheryl for taking us out to your boyfriends place in NYC. That's when I first got my interest in cold sake. I had the "demon slayer" sake, a daiginjo, which was really dry and fruity. Still among my favorites though I don't recall the name and I haven't tried much. Started with the Kubota Manju (daiginjo), $20 for 150 ml. Hey, I was treating myself tonight so why not. Really good. Dry not too fruity, once again I'm no connoisseur (and partly not good at spelling, had to Google the correct spelling). There tuna was great. Melted in your mouth (though I have had better at another place that I'll write about later). All their other fish was very fresh, good texture. Tried the yellowtail, belt fish (that was a first) and kuromutsu (another first). The kuromutsu is interesting. Somewhat like yellowtail but the texture seemed softer and tasted less fishy. Will definitely search for this at other places. Also tried their butter mentaiko. It is a potato, topped with mentaiko (marinated roe of pollock, thank you wiki) baked with some seasoning. Then topped with a half cherry tomato. Really good. You should let it sit for a couple of minutes though. Too hot to eat right away. Well not really. Just more enjoyable when you don't bite into it and have a burning hot sensation. Also had their fresh water eel. I find at good resturants that the degree of quality doesn't vary so much. Just a staple in my sushi diet. Maybe I have yet to come across a really poor quality one. The menu has a good amount of variation from sushi, to udon, to fried foods, and other things. I was interested in trying thei grilled stingray fin but avoided this time. I'll be back with backup for it. Also tried their Masami Arabashiri, just a recommended sake. Very very fruity but good. I'll be doing another review when I go back. I really enjoyed it. Then again, it's easy to enjoy a place when you don't put any limits on what you can order! :)

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