Sushi Izakaya Shinn: The Heart and Soul of Japanese Cuisine

Columns Order of the Day

December 3, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

At Sushi Izakaya Shinn, it’s all about ambiance, unique dishes and wholehearted customer service. The eatery, which opened last December, features a Japanese tapas-style menu with many options for customers to try.

  • Grilled Lamb Chop ($12)
  • Watercress & Hijiki Salad ($6)
  • Genkijirushi ($11)
  • Hamachi Yuzukoshou ($14)
  • Assorted Skewers ($12.50)
  • General manager Yuki Yamamoto
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“We have a sushi counter and a robata (grill) counter,” says general manager Yuki Yamamoto. “Customers can watch while we make the sushi and while we grill items. We have (both) regular tables and wabi-style — Japanese tea room-style — tables.” Yamamoto explains that the restaurant’s name emphasizes genuine customer service.

Shinn is the Japanese word for hospitality,” he says. “It’s the soul, the heart. We serve our customers with our hearts. Izakaya is a general term for Japanese tapas-style.”

Sushi Izakaya Shinn’s menu has various categories of dishes, such as starters, cold dishes, salads, hot dishes, deep-fried dishes, seafood, robata (grilled dishes), sushi nigiri/sashimi, roll sushi/chirashi sushi, oden, pot dishes and dessert. When it comes to Sushi Izakaya Shinn’s signature dishes, Yamamoto points out the unique Genkijirushi ($11) and the Hamachi Yuzukoshou ($14).

“Inside the Genkijirushi is an assortment of sticky items, including chopped tuna, okra, natto and some squid,” he says. “It’s a sticky dish, but it has very healthy items. Local people love the natto. (We serve Genkijirushi) with some wasabi, soy sauce and seaweed on the side, and you can make a handroll. The Hamachi is sashimi with wasabi and yuzukoshou (a citrus and vinegar blend) on top.”

Customer favorites among hot dishes include Grilled Lamb Chop ($12), Simmered Rock Fish ($10) and Kurobuta Kakuni ($7.50), or glazed pork belly. In terms of salads, the Watercress & Hijiki Salad ($6) is frequently requested.

“The Watercress & Hijiki Salad is very popular,” Yamamoto says. “Hijiki seaweed (black seaweed) is the most popular Japanese seaweed. Also popular is the Beef Tataki Salad ($12), which is seared beef served with mixed greens.”

Other popular dishes at the eatery include Black Cod ($12), or butterfish, and grilled items such as Grilled Beef Tongue ($3.25), Chicken Wings ($2.75), Chicken Meat Balls ($2.50) and Grilled Rice Balls ($2.50).

“Locals like the black cod, or butterfish,” Yamamoto adds.

While the eatery does not feature monthly specials, Yamamoto says that daily specials are available. These specials include dishes such as Japanese Golden Red Eye Snapper ($18), Grilled Octopus Balls ($5.75) and Grilled King Crab ($22).

“Every day, it (the special) changes,” he says. “(These dishes) are not on the regular menu … especially popular are the Cold Tofu with Fried Fish Flakes & Spicy Sauce ($6) and the Simmered Pork Intestine & Mixed Vegetables with Kimchee ($8.50), which is like a casserole dish.”

While the majority of customers dine in the restaurant, Yamamoto says that takeout options are available.

“The takeout menu is the same (as the dine-in menu),” he says. “If the customer requests, we can make takeout orders.”

Sushi Izakaya Shinn is most crowded from 7 to 9 p.m. on weekends, Yamamoto notes. For the upcoming new year, the restaurant is featuring a special known as Shinnenkai, or “new year gathering.” This celebration marks the Japanese tradition of welcoming the new year, and starting this month, customers can make reservations for parties of six adults or more for next month (January) and receive a 15 percent discount on their entire check. However, reservations for the January parties must be made before Dec. 30.

“Shinnenkai is our ‘Welcome to the New Year’ party,” confirms Yamamoto. “You need to make your reservation in December to qualify for the new promotion.”

Sushi Izakaya Shinn

  • Where
    • 2065 South Beretania Street
    • Honolulu, HI 96826
  • Call
    • (808) 946-7466
  • Hours
    • Monday – Saturday
    • 5 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
    • Closed Sundays