Show-stopping Eats at Kobe
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BY RACHEL BREIT
Dear seafood lovers looking for the grill-to-you experience, Kobe Steakhouse & Sushi Bar is the place for you.
“Here you have a personal chef,” explains longtime teppanyaki chef Lester Nishida. “You see your food before it’s cooked, so you know you have quality. And you get it hot — you cannot beat that.”
At Kobe, meals are prepared teppanyaki-style on the grill in front of you. The high heat and quick cook times ensure that seafood stays at the optimum texture: tender and not too firm.
“It’s moist inside and juicier,” explains Nishida. The minimal spices added (a special house blend of seasonings including garlic salt, paprika and cayenne) do not overpower the fresh flavors of the high-quality ingredients.
Seafood Trio ($42.95) is one such specialty of the house. It offers a generous portion of seafood. The three amigos of Seafood Trio are a lobster, scallops and calamari. The lobster is a 4-to 6-ounce Tristan lobster. It’s cooked, cut into bite-sized pieces then displayed back in the shell. The scallops are large Novia Scotia dry scallops containing no preservatives, which means their flavor is purer and fresher.
“These are the best scallops out there right now,” says Nishida. The calamari, from Mexico, is 4 to 5 ounces and thick and meaty “like a steak.”
Accompanying the trio are Mexican white shrimp, sauteed bean sprouts, mushrooms, onion and zucchini. (If three is a crowd, then more is definitely a party.) Two dipping sauces also are offered: a ginger sauce made with fresh ginger, and a mustard sauce with Coleman’s spicy mustard and black sesame seeds. The ginger pairs well with the seafood and vegetables, and the mustard goes merrily with steak.
Kobe’s focus is on more than the proper preparation of fine ingredients, it’s also on creating an entertaining experience.
Nishida explains: “Everything is cooked on the grill in front of you — with a show, too. And if you are lucky, sometimes you get a little magic, sometimes you get a little singing. Each chef is different in their own way.”
When asked if he normally offers up a song for his guests, Nishida says with a laugh, “Last time I sang everybody walked out, so I don’t sing no more.”
Surely everyone at least stayed until they had finished their dinners.
Another dish to stick around for is Garlic Fried Rice ($4). It’s made in front of you with mushrooms, green onion, egg, steak and, of course, lots of garlic.
“Garlic is good for you, too,” says Nishida. “What makes Kobe different is that we try to give more food. Let’s take care of everyone and give them more.”
Kobe Steakhouse & Sushi Bar
1841 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
Open daily, Lounge 5-10 p.m. Dining 5:30-10 p.m.; Happy hour 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Note: Valet Parking $5