The Best Of JapanA La Carte Columns
November 29, 2015
Story By: Lynsey Beth Futa | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
Stepping through the tinted doors of Gokoku Sushi in Koko Marina Center, one is transported to a chic, modern eatery, wafting with yummy delights.
Coming close to its one-year anniversary, Gokoku’s chef Toshiyuki Watanabe already is planning a special December menu to help celebrate.
Watanabe, an honored, experienced chef from Japan, has helped the restaurant create a new menu with a more accessible, casual approach to Japanese cuisine, without sacrificing the food’s quality.
For example, kaiseki items and fish selections always are changing according to product availability (a lot of items come straight from Japan), the seasons and Watanabe’s new ideas, which helps keep Gokoku’s menu continuously exciting and different.
Also on the horizon, Gokoku will be opening up two more eateries in the new wing of Ala Moana Center, both different from the Koko Marina Center establishment. One restaurant’s concept will offer a tempura-bar experience, and the other, a fresh bakery setting.
EVERYTHING IN ONE BASKET
The kago option, Mahina ($48, only dinner), offers many dishes served in its basket presentation. Some of the best highlights of this kaiseki meal include assorted nigiri, sashimi and a pickled unagi and cucumber dish called uzaku.
Assorted tempura also is served in the meal, as well as a piece of smoky, grilled Hawaiian Monchong. A hot kobachi (small bites) dish of daikon nishime — cooked radish in dashi broth with Shimeji mushroom sauce — is added, as well as a bowl of sukiyaki beef, shiitake mushrooms and itokonnyaku (yam noodles). Mahina was inspired by autumn.
Koko Marina Center
7192 Kalanianaole Hwy., Hawaii Kai
Tuesday-Sunday, lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner: 5-10 p.m.; closed Mondays