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Ali Carte
Ali Carte

Go From Italy to Japan in One Meal

By Ali Resich Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
July 14, 2013

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With its giant heaps of comforting pasta and taste-bud enticing sauces, you’d think Italian food couldn’t get any better. Lucky for Hawaii diners, though, Mimasuya Italiano of Kyoto has figured out the perfect amount of Japanese spice to add to your favorite Italian dishes, making them soar to new culinary heights.

“It’s traditional Italian with a Japanese flair to it,” says bar manager Michael Lopez. “Mostly the flair has to do with the presentation, and some of the dishes consist of Japanese ingredients, like with our appetizers and soups.”

The elegant Kapiolani Boulevard eatery is the first of Japanese restauranteur Masaki Hibi’s eight dining establishments to open outside of Kyoto, Japan. Since debuting in December of last year, Mimasuya Italiano has drawn in a growing number of diners seeking its unique style of fusion cuisine.

Nothing gives patrons a more inclusive taste of the eatery’s culinary strengths than its Mimasuya Dinner Set Menu ($28 per person). Unveiled earlier this month, the lavish dinner course is available Sunday through Thursday and highlights a glorious selection of starters and pastas. Executive chef Toshiya Umeda brings 20 years of experience to each carefully crafted plate as well.

Before you dive into your set menu, you’ll enjoy the chef’s amuse-bouche, or tiny pupu served at the start of every meal, to get your mouth watering. When AliCarte stopped by, Umeda had prepared a refreshing cucumber with smoked salmon mascarpone cream cheese that set the tone for an exquisite meal.

The set menu begins with another dish crafted by Umeda, this time in the form of a Chef’s Choice Assorted Appetizer Plate, which changes daily. You can enjoy such fusion-filled bites as yellowfin tuna, mango wrapped in prosciutto, grilled scallop and roasted duck breast.

Patrons also choose from soup or salad to complete the first portion of their meal. Fresh house salads are topped with either honey mustard dressing or Mimasuya’s Japanese dressing. Or go for one of the soups of the day, which feature such delicate flavor compilations as Kabocha Pumpkin Potage Cream Soup.

For the entree, Mimasuya Dinner Set Menu focuses on the establishment’s signature items — pasta, pasta and more pasta! From Penne Arrabiata to Tagliatelle Bolognese, the restaurant’s traditional Italian dishes are al dente, and all fabulous. Diners may order any pasta dish as the main course of their set menu.

General manager Shin Yano suggests Pescatore (additional $7 with set menu) prepared with spaghettini and fresh seafood — octopus, mussels, shrimp, scallops and Manila clams — in Mimasuya’s original tomato sauce, complete with a hint of spiciness.

He recommends Parma ham “Peperoncino” if you’d like something on the lighter side. “There’s a lot of locally grown ‘Nalo Farm arugula to go with the real Parma ham,” says Yano. This bowl of spaghettini is cooked with olive oil and garlic, then drizzled with more olive oil as a finishing touch.

With a Mimasuya Set Menu, you’ll set yourself up for a divine evening of Italian and Japanese fare.

Mimasuya Italiano of Kyoto

1341 Kapiolani Blvd. Ste. 101
951-9000
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Dinner: 5:30-10 p.m. (last seating 9:30 p.m.)
Closed every other Sunday. The next closing will be July 21.
Happy hour: Sunday-Thursday from 8:30 p.m.
Note: The restaurant houses a full bar. Free parking is located just past the eatery at the Kapiolani side entrance of the Uraku Tower, in the basement level.