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Don’t worry, dine happy

By Lynsey Beth Futa Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
July 12, 2015

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Beloved Kaimana Beach was once — and still is — known as Sans Souci Beach by many. The French saying, translated as “no worries,” is fitting for the long stretch of golden sand, where generations of families continue to gather for the ocean’s comfort and the miraculous view of Diamond Head. It truly is easy to leave all cares behind, and at The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, the feeling is mutual.

Located on the second floor, with an even better view of the iconic volcano, and just within earshot of the lingering music from Hau Tree Lanai, Miyako Japanese Restaurant dazzles at night. Making its debut in 1964, Miyako — which means “beautiful night child” — continues to be a place for traditional Japanese cuisine accented with island influences. With waitresses in kimonos, food that harkens back to true Japan and an ambience as elegant as a Hawaii sunset — which can be seen through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows, or from the outdoor cabanas — Miyako transports diners to another place and time.

Open only for dinner, Miyako is known for its kaiseki (traditional multi-course Japanese dinner), and executive chef Yuta Anzai is a craftsman in just that, masterfully preparing a new kaiseki menu each month. Some permanent menu favorites, however, include dishes like Ginger Pork ($33, teishoku). Thinly sliced pork loin is marinated in a special ginger sauce, with notes of sesame and soy. Sauteed onions, bell peppers, a medley of mushrooms and broccoli are stir-fried with the pork loin and served sizzling hot on a teppan, or cast-iron plate. The wafting aromas are enough to satisfy.

Assorted Sashimi ($20), more like a piece of art than food, should not just be admired. Laid on a bed of ice, delectable slices of ahi tuna, Kona kampachi (yellowtail) and aori ika (squid) represent the finest of both Hawaii and Japan. The garnishes also are like dollop-sized art and include daikon, shiso, wakame and limu.

If you can’t decide on just one fresh-fish item, try a few at a time with Three Types of Poke ($18). A portion of cubed fresh salmon is mixed in a slightly spicy mayo dressing, with the addition of buttery avocado and onion. The next helping is a combination of ahi tuna, wakame, green onions and limu tossed in a soy sesame sauce. The last includes cuts of tako marinated in the same soy sesame sauce with wakame and green onions.

Whether you decide to eat under the shelter of Miyako’s outdoor cabanas, partake in the banquet room — which was designed after the Nijo Castle in Kyoto — or dine in the regular seating area, leave your worries at the door and enjoy the “beautiful night.”

Miyako Restaurant

The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel
2863 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
921-7077
Dinner Wednesday-Monday, 5:30-9 p.m.
Closed on Tuesdays