Monday, July 30, 2007


I have waited to try Ichiriki since they first opened in 2006. My grandma had a chance to go there before I did, and she raved about it. Anything that is Japanese that my grandma likes, has to be worth trying. Being born and raised in Japan, my grandma has high expectations for Japanese food; often comparing the dishes to her own (delicious) cooking. When I finally had a chance to try Ichiriki for myself, I found that along with matching up to my grandma's standards it also matched up to mine.

Owners Issei Kazama and Riki Kobayashi (born and raised in Japan) have done an excellent job with creating a nabe restaurant that offers great food and a welcoming ambience. I immediately felt as though I was in a trendy restaruant in Japan. The decor reminded me of another freqently visited favorite of mine, Gyu-Kaku. We sat at a regular table with two burners; however there are also two tatami-style rooms for larger parites.

My boyfriend and I shared the "kami nabe" which is a variation on the traditional nabe. In this nabe, the "kami," or paper, sits in a wire basket replaces the pot. This paper is supposed to absorb the oils from the meat in order to create a clearer, healthier broth. It fascinated me how the paper held the broth the entire time, nor did it burn!

Our kami nabe came with a selection of meats, vegetables, tofu, and tsukune. Tsukune is sesoned, ground meat that is presented in a bamboo tube, allowing you scoop them into the boiling broth to create little "meatballs." Everything was delicious! The broth was very tasy, unlike the MSG-laden varieties I have tasted in the past. One of the unique thing about this nabe restaurant is that when two people share one nabe (the standard pot, not the kami-nabe), they place a divider into the pot. This allows customers to enjoy two different types of broth in the same pot and keeps the vegetables and meats separated.

Ichiriki offered great service, delicious, healthy food, and an awesome ambience. The prices were a bit high; however I heard that they have a pretty good lunch deal. I'll have to check it out for myself! I enjoyed this nabe restaurant even in the heat of summer and I know I'll visit them again; especially when the weather begins to cool down!!

510 Piikoi Street
Honolulu, HI

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