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Pagoda Houses Heavnly Local Grinds
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Pagoda Houses Heavenly Local Grinds

Story By Ali Resich Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
October 23 - 29, 2011

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Pagoda Restaurant, a hidden oasis in downtown Honolulu, has been serving up the best in Hawaiian, Asian and American food since 1964. Executive chef Jason Takemura has embraced the growing effort among restaurants here in Hawaii to incorporate as many local ingredients into the menu as possible. All the while, he experiments with local flavors and gets to know his customers, resulting in some of the best local grinds around.

  • House Smoked Big Island Beef Pastrami Reuben ($12)
  • Mr. Park's Oxtail Ramen ($12)
  • Ahi Katsu Salad ($12)
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The House Smoked Big Island Beef Pastrami Reuben ($12) grew out of Takemura’s exploration of local beef.

The beef is slow cooked at a low temperature, allowing the smoke to gradually infuse tender slices of pastrami. Classically dressed with sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese on toasted marbled rye bread, this tasty reuben also comes with a choice of fries or Nalo greens salad.

A huge fan of local fish, Takemura brings a wide variety into Pagoda. The Ahi Katsu Salad ($12) features fresh, panko-crusted ahi mixed with Nalo greens, tomatoes and avocados. Homemade hasu chips, a delicate and crispy alternative to croutons, and wasabi house dressing top it all off.

And when loyal patrons speak, Takemura knows how to deliver. Wesley Park, a good friend and regular at Pagoda, wanted a dish combining local favorites Oxtail Soup and Ramen. Takemura went to work, eventually blending the traditional soup broth with that of another popular dish, the Kim Chee and Kalua Pig Saimin. Adding even more layers of flavor, shiitake mushrooms and shrimp dumplings complete the dish.

“He said you should put this on the menu, and it’s one of our best-sellers now,” explains Takemura, who named the creation Mr. Park’s Oxtail Ramen ($12). This full-flavored dish contains tender, braised local-style oxtail with fresh ramen noodles and vegetables.

Pagoda Restaurant

  • Where
    • 1525 Rycroft Street
    • Honolulu, HI 96814
  • Call
    • (808) 948-8356
  • Hours
    • Breakfast served Sunday – Friday
    • 6:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
    • Saturdays
    • 6:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
    • Lunch is available Monday – Saturday
    • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Dinner Wednesday – Sunday
    • 5 – 9:30 p.m.
    • Sunday Brunch is served
    • 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Saturday Brunch will begin July 2.