There’s a new Japanese restaurant at the Manoa Marketplace, about a mile from my house. Okay, okay, it’s not exactly new; it’s been there a couple of years now, where the old Hanaki Restaurant used to be.
I had a hankering for Chinese noodles on Chinese New Year’s Day, so we all packed up in our mini-SUV and headed for Asia Manoa just up the street. Unfortunately, when we got there, they weren’t seating any more customers, and take-out orders were backed up for a couple of hours.
Harrumph. Naw, not harrumph, after all, it WAS Chinese New Year’s Day.
So we headed up to Manoa Marketplace at the wife’s suggestion, and got ourselves a table in Tokoname Sushi Bar & Restaurant. They’ve done a good job with the place … it’s pretty dark in there and looks very classy in the dimmed light. New employees, new furnishings, new décor, and new menu.
Okay, so what did we eat?
Before we could even order, our waiter brought us some boiled edamame (soy beans) sprinkled with salt. Everybody dug into those; nobody complained about the highly visible salt as they usually do, they just munched and munched on the beans.
I ordered an unagi (fresh water eel) sushi roll for the table, which was a nice start. Usually nobody else in the family orders such extra accompaniments and/or appetizers, so I play the naughty over-eater and do the ordering. Nobody complains, they just don’t want to appear gluttonous. By the way, the sushi was delicious.
For my entrée, I had something familiar – Butterfish and Tempura Teishoku (combination). I wanted to see how theirs stacked up to others I’ve had. It stacked up very nicely. The butterfish had a great flavor, a little intense and concentrated, not on the subtle side for sure. I enjoyed it and ate up every bit, except for some of the vegetable tempura that the wife swiped from my plate. But that’s okay, I ate some of her sashimi.
Of course, I had to order dessert to assuage everybody’s guilty feelings. If I order and “force” them to share mine, they don’t feel guilty at all.
The waiter recommended Tempura Ice Cream (battered and deep-fried) for dessert, but I wanted something a little more. So I ordered their Tempura Bananas, arranged on vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate and haupia (coconut) sauce. Good God, that was delicious. I only got to eat one piece of banana; the others scarfed up the rest real fast.
My brother-in-law got brave and ordered an Azuki Dream – a melon cream soda float with vanilla ice cream, and topped with sweet Japanese azuki (sweet red) beans. It surprised him, and me as well, because it was served in a classy champagne glass.
Now that was a good meal. A bit on the expensive side, but darn-right good.
Tokoname Sushi Bar & Restaurant: Manoa Marketlace, 2756 Woodlawn Dr. Phone (808) 988-8656.