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Tasty Traditions at Sushi King

Digest Foodie Fare

January 7, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Sushi King gets its name from more than just its convenient location on South King Street. With its tasty eats, friendly service and an intimate dining experience, Sushi King is royalty among sushi eateries ― and is certainly a reigning restaurant among late-night joints. Open until 2 a.m. six nights a week, Sushi King is just what you need to get through a late-night study session or wind down from a night out.

  • Yosenabe ($17.95)
  • White Fish Saute ($8.50)
  • Sashimi Deluxe ($24.95)
  • Yosenabe ($17.95)
  • Assortment of Chef's Choice ($30)
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Opened in 1992, Sushi King is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Owner and manager Shu-Lee Kondo ― who also founded the restaurant ― describes the cuisine as traditional Japanese food. “The restaurant is very traditional, with typical Japanese dishes,” Kondo explains. “All of our food is created by chefs who were trained in Japan.”

For a taste of Sushi King’s authentic dishes, try Tempura-Don Donburi ($11.95) or Yosenabe ($17.95), which is accented with spices, grated radish and ponzu sauce. Other dishes include Tonkatsu ($17.95 for dinner), Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura ($22.95 for dinner) and the White Fish Saute ($8.50), which is seasoned with soy sauce, sake and grated radish.

If you’ve come just for the sushi, you’re at the right place. Sushi King’s sushi bar chefs can expertly prepare options such as Sunshine roll ($12.50), Spicy Tuna roll ($7), Unagi ($6.50) or Spider roll ($12.50), which comes with deep-fried soft shell crab.

Kondo says that some of Sushi King’s most popular dishes are the specials, which include the Jumbo Platter ($11.45) and Early Bird Dinner ($15.95). The Jumbo Platter is served as both the Lunch Special and the Midnight Special, and offers choices such as Ahi Cutlet on Rice, Salmon Cutlet on Rice and Beef Teriyaki on Rice. All of the dishes are served with soup and salad, and a California Roll, Cone Sushi from options such as Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura or Chicken Teriyaki, and comes with an appetizer, rice and soup.

And if you can’t decide which of Sushi King’s wide selection of dishes you want, try the nine-piece Assortment of Chef’s Choice ($30) or the Sashimi Deluxe ($24.95) for a daily selection of fresh fish.

Currently, Kondo and the chefs are thinking up some new dishes to add to the menu. For inspiration, Kondo says they turn to customers for their input.

“A lot of the new dishes come from customer requests,” Kondo says. “Customers are the ones who always teach us.” There is no set date yet for the new menu to be released, but Kondo says that it is in progress and will be unveiled at some point in the near future.

Starting next week, you can visit Sushi King online when it launches its website: sushikinghi.com.

On the Side

Sushi King owner and manager Shu-Lee Kondo founded the restaurant in 1992 after operating another Japanese restaurant in San Francisco. But while Kondo has run three restaurants — the third was at the Stardust in Las Vegas before the hotel shut down — her longtime success in the industry started out as something of a fluke.

Kondo is originally from Japan, but relocated to California as a young adult. For her husband, a chef, owning his own restaurant had been a lifelong dream. But just six months after he realized his dream by opening his restaurant in San Francisco, he went blind. At the time, Kondo was working in banking and knew very little about the restaurant business. But when her husband asked her to take over his restaurant, she agreed.

“I said, ‘why not?’ Let me try,'” Kondo explains. “How could I say no? It was his dream.”

When she moved to Hawaii years later, her initial intent was to retire here. But seeing an opportunity to open Sushi King, she decided to start another restaurant instead. Twenty years later, Sushi King is still going strong. In keeping with its family-run origins, Sushi King has attracted a loyal customer base throughout the years, and Kondo says that she thinks of her staff as an extended family.

“My husband always taught me that the employees in your restaurant are family because you spend so much time there,” Kondo says.

The Sushi King kitchen also is home to the Joe Aloha food truck, which is known for its smoked meat. Joe Aloha, which is run by Kondo’s son-in-law, prepares its food at Sushi King. The truck is located in front of Smart Stop Storage on the corner of Kamakee and Kawaihao streets. It is open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Sushi King

  • Where
    • 2700 South King Street #C
    • Honolulu, HI 96826
  • Call
    • (808) 947-2836
  • Hours
    • Open daily for lunch
    • 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Dinner
    • Wednesday – Monday
    • 5:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.
    • Tuesdays
    • 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.