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Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant? Well, much credit goes to the many chefs, owners and managers who work diligently day in and day out to make sure Hawaii’s diners have a top-notch dining experience.
This week, Dining Out gets the inside scoops from Odoriko Restaurant owners, the Takei family, who give us a little taste of Odoriko and share just what fuels their culinary drive.
Name: Nobuteru, Riei, Akiko, and Hiro Takei
Title: Owners and General Managers
Training/Education: 10 Years of Service
Who or what inspires you as a chef/manager/owner? As the owners of an “authentic” Japanese restaurant in Waikiki, what drives us every day is to serve quality dishes and provide sincere hospitality that would make even Japanese tourists who arrived that morning say, “this place is just like Japan,” which is actually something that we hear, and appreciate hearing, every day. But it is a fact that Waikiki, and also our restaurant, enjoys guests from all over the world. To these friends, we feel it is our responsibility to ensure that they take away an experience that is as genuine as possible.
What is your favorite dish on the menu? Why? There are two dishes that we are exceptionally proud of. First is “Hawaii-San Sampler” or the “Local Sampler,” which consists of three types of local sashimi delicacies — Hawaiian tuna, Hawaiian kampachi and sweet shrimp from Molokai. The other dish is Big Island Awabi or abalone. Awabi is delivered to us three times a week and kept alive in our tank so that our customers can enjoy it as fresh as possible. These dishes are our favorite because we believe it exemplifies the essence of what we strive to do here: Take pride in and showcase locally-grown products, while preparing, presenting and serving it in a manner that stays true to our Japanese culinary and hospitality style. After all, when our tourist friends enter our restaurant, they want to enjoy not just what is the best of Japanese cuisine, but also Hawaii.
What is your favorite ingredient to work with? Why? Our favorite ingredients are very simple ones: konbu seaweed and kezuriboshi (dried bonito). The reason also is very simple: It is the basic component or stock of all of our sauces and soups that we serve here. I think you will find it very common to hear that almost all soups/sauces used in Japanese cuisine start with these ingredients. From there, you would add spices or flavors to make it unique and your own. I guess you could say it’s a favorite by necessity.
What are your culinary goals? What do you hope to improve on? The goal of Odoriko is to preserve the foundations of what makes us an authentic, izakaya style, Japanese restaurant — great food and service, and a positive, vibrant, and energetic ambiance. We are always mindful, and even scrutinizing of taste and service. It takes constant training and retraining. Our other goal, to use local products and support our community, is more of a fun and self-rewarding endeavor. We hope to continue to be able to showcase the great ingredients we produce locally, and create more dishes for our menu and specials.
King’s Village Shopping Center
2400 Koa Ave.
Open daily, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (lunch), 5 p.m.-midnight (dinner)