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Ali Carte
Ali Carte

Night and “Don Day”

By Ali Resich Photos By Ali Resich
February 3, 2013

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If you’re in search of an exciting new late-night spot, look no further than Don Day Yakiniku, which has been heating up Honolulu’s night crowds with irresistible Korean cuisine since August 2011.

Open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, the eatery caters to everyone from casual diners looking for a relaxing dinner to those who want to hang out all night. With so many yakiniku restaurants to choose from, Don Day sizzles with unique features that keep it a notch above the rest.

Even though it’s situated off the beaten path behind storefronts on Keeaumoku Street, the restaurant stands out as an oasis in a congested area with its spacious outdoor dining lanai in a pleasant garden-like setting.

The tables feature durable curved grill tops, which were traditionally used in Korea to soak up flavor from meats and vegetables, while letting any fat drip down the sides. What’s more is that Don Day is the only establishment on the island to offer yakiniku dining outdoors, which alleviates the smokey indoor environment commonly associated with these types of restaurants.

Patrons can fire up meat or combination platters at the table and enjoy salad, rice and up to eight side dishes with their meal. Owner Charlene Miura, along with daughter Yuri, who helps out at the restaurant, suggest grilling fermented kim chee as well, a healthy Korean staple.

If you’re a grilling pro, you can take hold of the tongs, while a friendly wait staff is ready to help any first-timers.

“A lot of people are not familiar with Korean yakiniku style,” says Yuri, “so we’ll go to the table and tell them about each meat. Then we’ll cut it and cook it for them.”

In addition to each grilled sensation, Don Day offers a host of delectable a la carte items. Among the most popular dishes are fried or steamed Mandoo ($10.95 for eight pieces), which are filled with minced pork, ground beef, a variety of vegetables, tofu and long rice. Regulars have come to know them as “fat mandoo” because of their notable size — and tastiness.

Another must-have is the traditional Kalbichim ($22.95), or double-cooked braised short rib, served with potatoes, carrots and daikon. The meat initially gains flavor when it is slowly cooked for hours. Then, once a customer orders the dish, it’s cooked again for an incredibly rich short rib that falls off the bone.

The eatery also is known for its unique selection of soju cocktails in flavors such as cucumber, lemon, yogurt and strawberry. These fun and flavorful sips are the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

When readers present their Dining Out coupon, they’ll receive a complimentary Kim Chee Fried Rice or Kim Chee Pancake ($10.95 regular), both served teppanyaki-style on large sizzling hot platters.

You can savor these eats all night long, even into the next “Don Day.”

Yakiniku Don-Day

905 A Keeaumoku St.
951.1004 or 205.1004
Open daily, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
YakinikuDonDay.com