Combining Japanese eats with local flavors
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With a sleek, contemporary dining room, Japanese Restaurant Aki aims to bring authentic flavors from Japan to the Islands, but all with a local spin.
“We take Japanese food and adjust the flavor so that it will fit to local people more,” chef Edward Williams explains.
One prime example of this type of creative fusion is the Ahi and Avocado Poke ($9). The dish features poke accented with shoyu, along with ginger, garlic and sesame oil, all on top of black rice.
“In Japan, they don’t have poke, so we kind of made a local-style poke, but added Japanese black rice underneath,” Williams says. “The rice soaks up the sauce from the poke and it is really good.”
For a sampling of different types of sushi, Williams recommends the Sushi Set ($26), which features maguro, hamachi, salmon, scallop, shrimp, egg, shime saba and squid with a spicy tuna roll.
In just the few months since its opening, Japanese Restaurant Aki already has made a name for itself with its fish selections. One popular item is the Hamachi Kama ($13), which features a tender slice of hamachi.
“This is served by itself and it tastes great with shoyu or lemon,” Williams says.
With all of that fish, it’s nice to have other types of protein for a little variety, and the restaurant’s Yakitori nine-piece set ($16) is just the answer. The set features a range of grilled skewers including chicken thigh, chicken gizzard, chicken wing, chicken liver, chicken meatball, chicken breast, sausage, bacon, tomato and quail egg.
And as a great complement to any meal, Williams recommends the Agedashi Tofu ($6). The dish features tofu coated in potato starch and deep fried, all sitting in a shiitake broth.
Japanese Restaurant Aki
1427 Makaloa St.
Open daily, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.