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Inside Feature

Kobe’s New Items Reel in Flavor, Fun

By Kyle Galdeira Photos by Lawrence Tabudlo
April 8, 2013

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In its fifth decade of pleasing diners from here at home and those visiting from all corners of the globe, the skilled staff at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar continues to dazzle diners with new menu creations that keep the eating experience fresh and fun.

Modeled after a rustic Japanese inn, Kobe serves up authentic Japanese cuisine infused with local flavors and preparation techniques in a comfortable, family-style setting. As the skilled chefs prepare fresh meals on the flat-top teppan grills situated at each table, distinct aromas waft throughout the eatery as the culinary craftsmen deftly chop, slice and toss the ingredients to the delight of diners – some of whom represent a third generation of customers whose parents introduced them to Kobe, and now bring their children to enjoy the experience.

Both kamaaina and visitors frequent Kobe, which is situated conveniently in Waikiki on Ala Moana Boulevard between the iconic Ilikai and Hilton Hawaiian Village, and praise the generous portions and stellar customer service.

Kobe recently introduced a Calamari Special menu that offers Steak & Calamari Combo ($35.95) with 5 ounces of Sirloin and 5 ounces of Calamari, as well as Seafood Trio ($42.95), which features a hearty platter filled with 4 to 5 ounces of Nova Scotia Scallops, 5 ounces of calamari and 3 to 4 ounces of Tristan Lobster Tail. The special items also include a two-piece Teppan Shrimp appetizer, pickled vegetables, shabu shabu soup, grilled teppan vegetables including zucchini, mushrooms and onions, white rice and hot green tea.

The special menu also features salads ($8 each) available in both the lounge and main dining room. Diners may choose from Slow Braised Calamari or Fresh Ahi Poke (regular or spicy) atop a bed of Organic Baby Spring Mix and Grape Tomatoes with a special Kobe dressing.

“The calamari is slow-braised, which brings out the flavor while it remains really tender, and serves as a nice addition to our menu,” says owner and general manager Roy Nakamura. “We’ve also made the salads a little smaller and lowered the price accordingly, so they go better with dinner or pupu items.”

The lounge opens at 5 p.m., 30 minutes prior to dinner service, and features a daily happy hour that runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The specially priced menu includes a host of deals including 20 percent off sushi, $3 standard cocktails, $3 domestic beers and $4 wine specials.

Additionally, the lounge offers up nightly drink specials within the happy hour window, such as: Flavored Sakes ($4, available Monday) including peach, lychee and apple; Heineken and Heineken Light “Green Bottles” ($4, available Thursday); Mojitos ($5.50, available Friday) including coconut, lychee, pineapple, passion fruit, mango and melon; and Martinis ($5.50, available Sunday) including apple, lychee, cosmopolitan, lemon drop and chocolate.

Pupus also play a prominent role on the lounge’s menu, which includes local favorites and “East meets West” appetizers such as Sweet Potato Fries ($7), Kobe Scallops ($11) and Garlic Pork Chops ($14). The succulent pork chops are brined, gently fried and served with a special dipping sauce infused with more garlic to enhance the tender, juicy pork’s flavors.

“It’s a nice added touch where customers can enjoy a round or two before heading into dinner,” says Nakamura of the happy hour and lounge specials. “Diners can also avoid the rush-hour traffic, kick back and enjoy the calm, casual atmosphere.”

Those craving sushi may look forward to a wide array of freshly prepared selections, including Rainbow Roll ($14). The colorful creation has stood out as a customer favorite for years and features a California roll base topped with avocado, salmon, hamachi and maguro, which produce an array of appeasing flavors and colors.

For dessert, Nakamura recommends Red Velvet or Double Chocolate Cupcakes ($5 each). The tasty morsels are loaded with flavor and serve as a sweet finale to a hearty meal enjoyed with family and friends. Diners also can deck out the dessert by adding vanilla or green tea ice cream to make it an a la mode endeavor for just $1 more.

“Everything is presented before you and cooked to order, so you know you’re getting a fresh product,” says Nakamura of the Kobe experience. “It’s a concept that’s always been present with us, but is becoming more popular with other restaurants. As far as freshness goes, it shows in all our items. You get really good food along with an entertaining presentation.”

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

1841 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
941-4444
OPEN DAILY, LOUNGE: 5-10 P.M.
DINNER: 5:30-10 P.M.
HAPPY HOUR: 5:30-7:30 P.M.

VALET PARKING AVAILABLE
FOR $5, RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED