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Inside Feature

Artistry and Taste Converge at Mimasuya

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Nathalie Walker
November 17, 2013

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With an emphasis on fusing traditional Italian favorites with Japanese creativity, Mimasuya Italiano of Kyoto succeeds in transporting diners around the world with each beautifully crafted and delectably prepared dish that portrays “Kyoto-Style” flair.

Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, is known for its warm and welcoming nature as well as a knack for producing eye-pleasing culinary presentations that create exquisite taste and represent works of art. The restaurant was launched by Japanese restaurateur Masaki Hibi last December, and Mimasuya Italiano of Kyoto serves as the first of his eight establishments to open in Hawaii. Executive chef and general manager Toshiya Umeda continues to craft an innovative menu, and utilizes more than 20 years of experience in French and Italian cooking when fusing classic Italian dishes and concepts with artistic Japanese presentation techniques.

“It’s all about your traditional Italian favorites, including Carbonara and Bolognese, but with a Japanese interpretation of how to present the eye-catching cuisine,” says Mike Lopez, who manages both the restaurant and its bar. “Chef approaches each dish as a work of art, and he wants to draw you in — it’s up to you whether to eat it or admire the passion of his cooking.”

Mimasuya Italiano of Kyoto is situated conveniently along Kapiolani Boulevard on the ground level of the Uraku Tower. In addition to its close proximity to Honolulu’s urban core, the restaurant also offers free covered parking in its garage, which sits just a few steps away from the front door.

Lopez stresses attention to detail and stellar customer service when training his skilled and friendly staff, and notes that Mimasuya Italiano offers a fine-dining experience without the sky-high prices. The restaurant’s new lunch menu features reasonably priced pasta entrees starting at just $13.

“I come from a fine-dining background in Las Vegas, so I explain to my servers about the level of service that I expect for our customers,” Lopez says.

Umeda has continued to supplement the restaurant’s expansive menu by adding daily specials. This practice affords customers the opportunity to try something new upon each visit, including Botan Shrimp with Grilled Opah ($34, dinner), a beautiful and tasty “catch of the day” creation that incorporates salsa verde and a side of sauteed fresh vegetables.

The chef also prepares Assorted Appetizers ($28, lunch), a daily combination of 10 freshly made starters that can easily serve two-to-three diners. The appetizers are switched regularly so diners will be treated to a new experience upon each visit, and include innovative recipes such as cauliflower in red wine sauce and duck breast with apple puree. Umeda also strives to incorporate locally grown and harvested produce and fish, a practice that enhances flavor and freshness across the menu.

Another house special that diners clamor for can be found in “Mimasuya” Crab Cake ($17, dinner), a rich crab cake cloaked in a crispy yuba (tofu skin) wrapper and served with a zesty Dungeness aioli sauce.

“It’s not your traditional crab cake,” Lopez explains. “It’s very eye catching, and resembles sushi or an egg roll — that’s where the Japanese influence shines through. Chef really makes an effort to incorporate Japanese techniques and spices with each dish.”

Puttanesca ($17, dinner) offers a host of unique flavors as spaghetti is topped with a spicy tomato and anchovy sauce along with black olives, capers and fresh vegetables including onions and zucchini. The capers provide a bold flavor that couples with the anchovies and garlic to produce an invigorating aroma.

To end one’s dining experience at Mimasuya Italiano, Lopez recommends the restaurant’s homemade Creme Brulee ($8, lunch and dinner), which is accompanied by fresh fruit and vanilla bean gelato.

Customers may also look forward to a new line of cocktails that will soon be offered at the restaurant’s inviting full bar. Lopez is working with master mixologists to craft the ideal cocktails to accompany Umeda’s culinary wizardry.

Mimasuya Italiano of Kyoto

1341 Kapiolani Blvd. Ste. 101, Honolulu
951-9000
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dinner: 5:30-10 p.m. (last seating 9:30 p.m.)
Closed Tuesdays

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.