A new style of yakiniku emerges
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There are plenty of aspiring restauranteurs who strive to open their very own eateries, but here’s someone who followed a different path: Hajime Saito, the force behind Japanese B.B.Q. Yoshi, actually was asked by an investor to start the culinary venture. The investor had been so impressed with Saito’s work that he wanted him to head up the new yakiniku restaurant.
So Saito rounded up three of his former co-workers to join the team as supervisors, all of whom are industry veterans, and together they went for it. Japanese B.B.Q. Yoshi has now been open since last winter.
“We know the meat, and we know what the customers like,” explains supervisor Scott Motoda. “We really wanted to start something that could be our own style.”
For the Yoshi team, that means bringing in high-quality meats from both Japan and the U.S. Yakiniku options include rib-eye, both Japan and U.S. Kobe beef, kalbi, skirt steak, pork belly and more.
“It’s nothing but the best,” Motoda adds.
To get grilling, there’s the Pork Jowl ($15), also known as tontoro. “Pork jowl is the best cut of the jaw,” explains supervisor Mason Kiyomoto-Isara. “It’s very tender.”
Any local yakiniku experience would be incomplete without kalbi, so Yoshi is sure to have you well-covered on that front with the Kalbi Sampler ($30).
“We are known for our variety of kalbi, so we put a sampler together so that you can get a taste of the U.S. prime, Kobe and the Wagyu,” Kiyomoto-Isara says.
But you better get to Yoshi soon: This dish is a temporary special.
In addition to yakiniku, there also are a number of menu items, such as Chuck Tender Zuke ($24). This dish features a piece of meat over rice — nigiri-style — topped with wasabi.
“We take chuck tender and just sear the outsides and marinate it with our house sweet soy sauce,” Motoda explains.
JAPANESE B.B.Q. YOSHI
WHERE 1316 Young St., Honolulu
HOURS Daily, 5-11 p.m.
LAWRENCE TABUDLO PHOTOS