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A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS WEEK’S HOUSE SPECIAL: SPICY SUKIYAKI BEEF UDON ($13.95)
When Isamu Kubota and his wife, Moco, opened Yuzu in 2011, they used Moco’s healthy lifestyle as the inspiration for their unique style of Japanese cuisine. The produce is always organic and, when possible, the restaurant utilizes healthier alternatives — soy bean sauce and dairy-free vegenaise instead of mayonnaise.
This week’s special is Spicy Sukiyaki Beef Udon, which agrees with many locals’ taste buds. The dish is a thinly sliced portion of prime beef cooked in a yuzu sweet and spicy sauce, garnished with vegetables and served with a side bowl of house-made udon noodles.
“We have regulars who come just to order this dish,” Kubota said. “It is very popular.”
The inspiration for this dish comes straight from the bellies of Yuzu regulars. “Local people like sukiyaki, spicy and udon,” said Kubota about the restaurant’s signature dish that incorporates all three components.
Thin slices of beef maintain a subtle smokiness quality to them while allowing the dish’s other flavors to pop.
The base of the yuzu sweet and spicy sauce is a homemade dashi — a stock used for flavoring in most of Yuzu’s dishes — and tamari soy sauce.
A common ingredient in all Yuzu dishes is the yuzu fruit. Cooks prepare dishes with yuzu vinegar, yuzu pepper and even bottles of yuzu sauce, which are available at every table.
The dish has an artful blend of garnishes: green onions, flat chives, seaweed and won bok, a Chinese cabbage, all arranged atop the meat while sesame seeds float in the sauce.
Ala Moana Hotel
410 Atkinson Drive, Honolulu
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., daily
Dinner: Monday-Saturday, 5-11:30 p.m. Sunday, 5-9:30 p.m.