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Pupu Picks
Pupu Picks

Kobe Kicks Off Every Meal With a Bang

By Steve Murray Photos By Nathalie Walker
October 14, 2012

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Dining on pupus at Kobe Japanese Steak House is nearly as enjoyable as sitting with managing partner Roy Nakamura. The jovial owner with the knack to turn every conversation into a comedy routine presents a tasty menu filled with big hunks of beef and delicate portions of fish. While this may sound like a main course option, we’re talking appetizers here and they are good.

Being a proud carnivore, Steak Kabob ($9) is a must-have. The two large sticks of tenderloin tips are cooked perfectly to produce a crunchy exterior and a medium-rare interior that is soft, salty, juicy, tender and tasty. Try it alone or with the creamy tepanyaki sauce for an added level of flavor. Ringing in at an unappetizer weight of 8 to 10 ounces, it’s nearly an entree. Seriously, I split one skewer with the Missus, some fried rice and scallops (which we’ll discuss later), and was maxed out.

Kobe Scallops ($11) are done right and differently. This is first achieved by baking and not frying the six large mollusks. Lightly salted and served on the shell, the dish is light and naturally sweet, and the available dipping sauces just increase the options. The scallops come with a wasabi/yyuzu sauce that is slightly spicy with a citrus finish. Think of a thicker ponzu sauce, and you get the idea. For those looking for a bit more kick, try the firecracker shrimp or dynamite sauce. I didn’t — but then again, I’m a wimp with the heat tolerance of a newborn.

I like Fried Rice, and not just because it’s big enough for three and only costs $5. The mixture of oyster sauce and other secret ingredients makes for a moist and rich rice dish that is just a bit different — and being different makes a difference.

Finally, for the sharing and caring type, there is the Emperor Appetizer ($23.95). The combo sushi platter is a chef’s choice of nigiri and tuna roll. While the pieces change, the mainstays are magaru, hamachi, shiromi and sake. Regardless of the combinations, the ahi, salmon, snapper, clam and shrimp are delicious and the rice is just right.

Kobe Japanese Steak House

1841 Ala Moana Blvd.
941.4444
Open daily, Lounge 5-10 p.m.
Dining 5:30-10 p.m.
Happy hour 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Valet Parking $5.
Happy Hour: $3 domestic beers and standard cocktails, $4 Edna Valley wines, sushi 20 percent off