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Inside Feature

40 Years of Customer Satisfaction… and Counting

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Leah Friel
December 30, 2012

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While restaurants tend to come and go seemingly as often as the winds change direction, Odoriko Japanese Restaurant has proven that serving a quality menu with choices for all sorts of customers coupled with exceptional service are keys to withstanding the tests of time.

Odoriko is celebrating its 40th anniversary after opening its initial location at Ilikai Hotel in 1972. The original eatery was called Maiko, which led to its sister restaurant — Odoriko — opening in 1978, and while the original location closed in the mid-1990s, the latter still remains in its King’s Village locale in the heart of Waikiki, away from the hustle and bustle.

“We’ve withstood the big highs of the Japanese economic bubble, the low times of that bubble bursting, and also the American economic bubble bursting, but we’ve tried our best to stand our ground,” says Hiro Takei, general manager of Odoriko, whose restaurateur father opened the eatery four decades ago. “We’ve predominantly had Japanese nationals come and visit our restaurant, but in the past five years or so, the growing attraction of Japanese cuisine and the fact that more people are traveling have brought us customers from around the world, as well as more of our local friends.”

Takei explains that he and the talented chefs at Odoriko strive to integrate locally grown and produced products and produce whenever possible. That effort can be seen in one of the eatery’s many fresh seafood dishes, including Big Island Abalone Sashimi ($15 for small order, $25 for large order), which is available as a special menu item.

Odoriko also offers a kamaaina lunch special menu designed for those local customers looking for a hearty, inexpensive meal that can be enjoyed quickly. Some of the special items served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. include Odoriko Don ($7.50), a rice bowl dish featuring maguro, salmon and ika, as well as Nakaochi Don ($7.50), which includes tuna atop the rice bowl prepared either mild or spicy.

“We introduced a kamaaina lunch menu so that our industry friends and other workers, such as those at the nearby hotels, could come here to enjoy lunch,” says Takei. “They’re on the run, so they need to eat and go quickly. So, we cater to them with a menu that’s affordable and quick, and I’m happy about that.”

For dinner, customers can order a la carte items, as well as selecting from a host of Wateishoku (Japanese Dinner Set) selections. Additionally, diners can indulge in the interactive cooking experience of shabu shabu, or hot pot cooking, where food is delivered on a platter and cooked in a desired broth, including Tonkotsu (pork bone broth), Shoyu (Japanese-style seaweed broth) or Spicy Sesame.

Chanko-nabe ($16.50 for one person at lunch, $76 for two people at dinner and $38 for each additional diner) features a large platter of Odoriko’s finest meats, seafood and vegetables including crab legs, shrimp, salmon, squid legs, clams, thinly sliced beef, shiitake mushrooms, green onion, bak choy, tofu and shiratake (long rice noodles).

Odoriko also offers a vast selection of sushi and sashimi choices, and also features smaller dinner sets, such as the Trio Sampler Set ($32.50). The dinner set showcases the diverse tastes and preparation styles, and includes butterfish, garlic shrimp, kalbi, salad, edamame, rice and miso soup.

“We offer a dining experience that’s laid back, where loud bursts of laughter and excitement are welcomed, not frowned upon — this is a place where you let loose,” Takei explains. “You kick back, have a drink — typically alcoholic, if you’re of age — and you eat pupu-style. For example, each individual orders two or three pupu-style dishes like garlic shrimp, butterfish or fried chicken, and another person would get grilled squid skewers and whatnot, and then they share. But, because we have a lot of families visiting us, our menu is more comprehensive, and includes a full sushi menu, hot pot selections and Japanese and traditional-style meal sets.”

Odoriko Japanese Restaurant

King’s Village Shopping Center
2400 Koa Ave., Honolulu
923.7368
Open daily,
6 to 11 a.m. (breakfast)
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (lunch)
5 p.m. to midnight (dinner)