Sunday, January 6, 2008
The Kahala Hotel has a reputation for pure luxury, with oceanfront views, spas, and of course, fine dining. My family and I have had the pleasure of dining at Hoku's on several occasions and each time we were thoroughly pleased. Because I have such a great appreciation for Japanese food, I always made it a point to take a look at Tokyo Tokyo. I admired it from afar, thinking that it was too expensive, and far out of my reach. This dream soon became reality when my boyfriend decided to take me there to celebrate our anniversary! I was so excited!
The ambience of the restaurant was harmonious, with cool, open air seating and warm wood accents. The lighting was dim and romantic, but bright enough so that I could appreciate the beauty of the food. With the exception of the occasional headlights shining in from the valet parking right outside, the setting provided a perfect backdrop for a romantic evening. It was peaceful, yet we could still bask in the excitement of the evening.
The theme of the menu is "where tradition meets modern." At Tokyo Tokyo the chef is sure to use the highest quality ingredients flown in from all over the world. They use "Koshihikari" rice from Uonuma, Japan, natural salt from Oshima, organic shoyu from Izu Oshima, organic produce from Oahu and fish flown in from Tsukiji, Fukuoka, and Boston.
To start off with, we ordered the sashimi appetizer ($25), which included the chef's selection of the freshest fish of the day. That evening we had salmon, hamachi, and ahi. The salmon was creamy and delicious. Hamachi is usually one of my favorites; however this one was a bit fishy for my liking.
Next we had the Tokyo Tokyo signature sushi ($14 one piece), which was seared Japanese Wagyu sushi finished with ponzu sauce. Imported from Kagoshima prefecture, this beef was the highest quality (A-5) that Japan has to offer. Because it was exclusive to Tokyo Tokyo, we took the opportunity to try it. The meat was marbled with fat and melted in my mouth when it hit my tongue. It was quite lavish, and a neat experience, but I wouldn't pay another $14 to have it again. I think my boyfriend, the beef lover, appreciated it more than I did.
We also had the Spicy Tuna Roll, which was noting out of the ordinary.
For my entree I had the Butterfish Miso Yaki ($27). This was the most elegant presentation of butterfish that I have ever seen. The butterfish sat on top of a heated magnolia leaf over an open flame. Surrounding the butterfish was deep fried zucchini and shimeji mushrooms. The fish was delicate and the vegetables complimented the meal very nicely.
My boyfriend had the King Salmon Hoba Yaki ($26), which was salmon in hob miso sauce accompanied by the same vegetables that my entree included. Both of these dishes were good, but nothing spectacular.
We also had a bowl of miso soup, which included bits of enoki mushroom, crab, and green onions. This was a nice addition to the meal.
For dessert we had a kona coffee dessert which was layers of fluffy crepes and a delicate kona coffee mousse. I usually don't like the flavor of coffee, but this dessert had the most subtle coffee flavor that blended well with the light layers of crepe. It was a nice way to finish off the meal.
We also shared a frozen strawberry puree dessert that was served in a martini glass. This one wasn't as memorable.
I was so happy that I finally had the opportunity to experience Tokyo Tokyo for myself. I can't honestly say, however, that the quality of the food matched the price. I wouldn't go there again unless we had another special deal. I did, however feel quite pampered, and this was due to the ambience, elegant presentation of food, and exceptional service. There were several people waiting on us to take our order, pour wine, fill our water, and clear our plates. It was a nice way to have a memorable experience for a special evening.
The Kahala Hotel
5000 Kahala Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816