Japanese Restaurants in Kuakini

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Hungry hoards seeking house-made comfort food visit Paul's Poppers for chicken katsu with house-made gravy, Portuguese sausage breakfast plates, and, on Aunty Lani's Fresh Bread Mondays, oven-fresh loaves. Diners also swarm the restaurant for?you guessed it?poppers. They're wontonlike fried dumplings whose crispy, flaky exterior hides a host of ingredients. The Original bursts with pork, jalapeno, and melted cheddar, while the Caprese clasps tomato, basil, and mozzarella. Poppers come as single-serving combos?say, eight with a side of kimchi fried rice?or in quantities of up to 75 to feed a party or a friend who only eats things in quantities of 75.

555 N King St., Ste. 110
Honolulu,
HI
US

According to psychologists, the color red makes people hungry. So it's no wonder that Rakuen Lounge?s combination of vibrant, crimson tabletops and artistically plated sushi consistently incites stomach rumbles. Here, the chefs design their specialty rolls with organic ingredients and a whimsical touch: their Mr. Miyagi roll arrives with soy-sauce footprints drawn beside it, a presentation style that was oohed and ahhed over by Non Stop Honolulu?s Tracy Chan. The chefs also fold fresh fish, including sashimi-grade ahi, into don-don rice bowls.

Rakuen's bartenders congregate in the center of the dining room at a square-shaped bar where they shake up signature martinis with sake and yuzu, fresh fruit juices, and other seasonal ingredients procured from local vendors, rather than intergalactic grocery stores. They also fill glasses with sake or send full bottles of it or shochu out to tables.

1153 Bethel St.
Honolulu,
HI
US

Glenn Chu’s earliest memories of cooking are of watching his Chinese grandmother pluck veggies from her garden in Manoa, fire up a wood-burning stove, and stir-fry the pickings in an oversized wok. While studying and working on the mainland, he learned Western cooking methods, honing his skills to a level that earned one of his recipes publication in Bon Appétit. He draws together this experience to influence his work as Executive Chef of INDIGO, where the blend of Asian, French, and Mediterranean styles is evident in the goat cheese won ton appetizer, the wasabi soy and sun-dried tomatoes on ahi steak, and the sautéed eggplant and pineapple chutney on spicy shrimp. The dining room presents accents of crimson red and high ceilings, while outdoor spaces welcome vacationing demigods.

1121 Nuuanu Ave, Ste 105
Honolulu,
HI
US

Umeke Market combines a deli teeming with toothsome reinterpretations of local dishes with a natural market supplying organic greens, health supplements, and eco-friendly household items. Championing locally sourced ingredients with their menu of eats, deli masters hoist Mother Earth's fist in the air as they dispense dishes such as the Umeke market burger, which blankets local grass-fed beef, all-natural turkey, buffalo, or portabella mushroom in accoutrements including maui onion, sprouts, and organic ketchup ($8.95). Alternatively, smoothie selections such as the kale blend namesake leaves, banana, and honey into waves of quaffable nourishment ($3.95). The grocery lines shelves with organic greens, natural foods, and premium supplements that may boost energy, alleviate stress, and activate latent telekinetic powers.

1001 Bishop St
Honolulu,
HI
US

Before he came to Hawaii, chef Chai Chaowasaree learned how to shop for cooking ingredients in Bangkok, where his parents owned a restaurant. Over time, he honed his instinct to reach for the freshest fruits and vegetables?and today, that skill comes in handy when he's wandering markets in Oahu or Chinatown in Honolulu. It's this attention to detail that help Chef Chai win a 2011 Chef's Choice Award at the Hale Aina Awards.

He brings his finds to his eponymous restaurant, using them to create colorful examples of Hawaiian and Asian fusion cuisine. At dinner, spicy grilled pineapples sit beside New Zealand king salmon; a lobster reduction flavors a deconstructed scallop pot pie; and Thai-style oxtail soup can be had with coconut milk ginger brown rice. His roots shine through in the braised pork osso bucco, especially, as the recipe was taken straight from his parent's Bangkok restaurant.

Chef Chai's creations have even criss-crossed oceans. He's the executive chef for Hawaiian Airlines, which means that passengers can be treated to his entrees as well as the menu's many teas. The Emerald Sun flowering green tea, for example, is the specialty tea of choice for first-class passengers and geese that stop by the plane's drive-through window.

1 Aloha Tower Dr
Honolulu,
HI
US

Kabuki Restaurant's chefs continue a lively culinary tradition dating back to 1965, hypnotizing guests with gyrating flames as they grill Japanese specialties that complement the sushi bar's raw bounty of seafood-infused rolls. The teppanyaki masters inspire awe while unlocking the flavors of thinly sliced beef, chicken, and veggies on their fiery grills, tossing the ingredients skyward in a cruel game of monkey-in-the-middle with two other chefs. After furnishing empty stomach space with tempura, california, and spicy-tuna sushi rolls, diners can bring home bottled servings of the eatery's house yakiniku and butteryaki sauces, which can be used for cooking, dipping, and marinating seafood, meats, and vegetables for authentic Japanese meals. All of the signature sauces are low-fat and cholesterol-free.

600 Kapiolani Blvd.
Honolulu,
HI
US