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Cuisine Sandwiched Between Good and Great

By Yu Shing Ting Photos By Nathalie Walker
July 21, 2013

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In celebration of National Sandwich Month in August, Kissaten serves up a special menu of tasty sandwiches available now through the end of August.

The specials, created by executive chef Edison Ching, includes a light and refreshing Caprese Panini with pesto aioli, fresh Italian basil, mozzarella cheese and Kamuela tomatoes on ciabatta bread and a side salad ($8.50), or upgrade the salad to Kissaten’s signature Tomato Bisque ($12).

There also is a Hot Ham and Mushroom Panini with whole grain mustard aioli, roasted mushrooms, provolone cheese and caramelized onions on sourdough bread ($9.50 with salad or $14 with soup of the day); and smoky, sweet and tangy BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders with cole slaw, grainy mustard, barbecue sauce and smoked gouda in three mini hamburger buns ($9.50 served with a choice of salad or chips).

The bread is delivered fresh daily from JJ French Pastry, and local ingredients are used as much as possible, such as avocados, Kamuela tomatoes, mushrooms and Italian basil.

Kissaten, located on the corner of Piikoi and Waimanu Streets in the same building as KHON2 News across from Ala Moana Center, opened in December 2010 and is a contemporary 24-hour cafe offering gourmet made-to-order food that is an eclectic mix of American comfort food with international influences. A second location opened in Waikiki earlier this year (hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily), and they are in negotiations for a third location, also in town, and targeted to open in November.

Among the popular regular menu items are Pho, Ramen, Kissaten Melt (made with pastrami, mozzarella, caramelized onions and whole grain mustard aioli on sourdough bread) and Grilled Cheese Sandwich (with smoked gouda, Cheddar, bacon and Fuji apples). Breakfast is served from 6 to 11 a.m., lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and a late-night menu featuring the restaurant’s top items from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. There also is an extensive coffee and beverage menu, along with an ice cream parlor and milkshakes available 24 hours. Customers also can bring their own beer or wine (lunch through dinner), and glassware is provided.

According to Neysa Taba, who co-owns the cafe with cousins Jon Ishimi and Sean Ishizaki, Kissaten is fashioned after popular modern-day cafes found throughout Japan. “We are local Japanese born in Hawaii,” says Taba. “And we saw this as a good opportunity to get more in touch with our culture. We went to Japan and Seattle, and we always pick up ideas from traveling, watching TV and things we see online — always trying to look for what’s new and hip, and incorporating it into what we have to improve on.

“We’re also trying to participate as much as possible in charitable events, such as the recent Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce event at Bishop Museum and the Honolulu Professionals Foundation R.E.A.C.H. Out fundraising event. So, we’re looking at getting out there more and giving back.”

Whether it’s a power lunch, brunch with friends or a family dinner, Kissaten provides a casual, comfortable setting with food that is sure to please any palate. It also recently joined Room Service in Paradise allowing customers to have their order delivered, and Open Table where customers can make reservations for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Kissaten Coffee Bar

PIIKOI
88 Piikoi St.
593-1200
Open 24 hours

WAIKIKI
2250 Kalakaua Ave. (Waikiki Shopping Plaza, basement level)
922-3366
11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily

kissatencafe.com