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Diners customize their own Japanese meals

By Christina O Connor Photos By NATHALIE WALKER
February 2, 2016

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Since it opened about four years ago, Sakura Terrace Japanese Café has been attracting a steady stream of regular customers — some as many as once a week — for its traditional Japanese eats.

And since those early days, Sakura Terrace has expanded significantly. It originally started as a donburi restaurant.

“Based off of customer feedback, it became what it is now,” explains front-of-the-house manager Jaron Takumi. “Basically our menu is based off of customer requests. It went from just rice bowls to everything — we have wafu steak, we have tempura, somen and udon.”

As a way to offer its frequent customers something different, Sakura Terrace concocts a new special each month.

“We like to offer something that they’ve never had before,” Takumi says. “We try to vary it up a little bit for them.”

For February, there’s Kaisen Yosenabe ($28).

The dish is stocked with snow crab, hamachi, salmon, scallop, squid, chicken, shrimp, beef, black cod, aba-lone, tofu, Chinese cabbage, green onions, and shimeji and enoki mushrooms. That’s all served inside a choice of broth — either shoyu or miso.

It also comes with a rotating set of side dishes (pictured here are cold tofu and kiriboshi daikon), salad and rice. Then, you get to choose an additional side between three options: assorted tempura (with shrimp, asparagus, pumpkin and eggplant), assorted sashimi (ahi, marlin, salmon and squid) or unagi.

If you want to try the Kaisen Yosenabe, keep in mind that it’s a limited daily offering: There’s only 10 available for lunch, and 10 for dinner each day. Takumi recommends that the dish be reserved ahead of time.

Sakura Terrace Japanese Café

1240 S. King St., Honolulu
591-1181
Tuesday-Sunday, Lunch: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Dinner: 5-9:30 p.m.