Spice Up Thanksgiving With Fresh Tempura
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The key to making good tempura is using quality oil and serving each piece as fresh as possible — going straight from the fryer to your plate to be eaten right away.
That’s what sets Tempura Ichidai apart from any other tempura restaurant in Hawaii: You won’t find anything soggy and oily there. Each piece of fish, meat or vegetable is coated evenly with Japanese batter and flash-fried before being served immediately for maximum crunch. The tempura is magnificently light and crisp, and the multi-course style of service gives every individual piece the proper attention it deserves.
Open since Jan. 25 at Ala Moana Center’s Ewa Wing, Tempura Ichidai is part of the Pierthirty family, a Japanese restaurant company that also owns Café Lani downstairs. Tempura Ichidai has a well-lit, spacious and award-winning interior design with high ceilings and booths, and an authentic tempura bar in the center where you can see corporate chef Katsuhisa Inoue frying the tempura.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Chef Inoue has put together a “Sankyuu” teishoku set for hungry holiday shoppers. Served from Nov. 21 to 24, the teishoku set is $39 and comes with hamachi kama karaage with ponzu sauce, three kinds of sashimi, chawanmushi (Japanese savory custard), tempura, two appetizers, pickled vegetables, white or brown rice, miso soup, yuzu sorbet and fruits.
“Japanese speakers would recognize that we’re having fun with the name of this dish. ‘Sankyuu’ is ’39’ in Japanese and it’s the price of the dish. Also, ‘Sankyuu’ sounds just like ‘thank you,’ so it’s perfect for Thanksgiving,” explains marketing manager Keiko Sugai.
Inoue also puts together tempura teishoku set meals, sushi rolls, sashimi, hot pots and more, putting careful attention to freshness, quality ingredients and beautiful presentation. All teishoku sets are hearty meals, with a tempura main dish, white or brown rice, miso soup, two small appetizers and pickles.
“Just like how our sister company Café Lani has all-you-can-eat bread, Tempura Ichidai has allyou-can-eat white or brown rice,” says Sugai. “There is a lot of food and is well worth the affordable price.”
According to Sugai, customers often order Ebi Ten Don ($19) with four pieces of succulent shrimp, eggplant, pumpkin and island-grown kale, or Ichidai Teishoku ($19), which has eggplant, shrimp, kisu fish, heart of palm, snapper, chicken, pumpkin and island-grown kale.
Ala Moana Center, Ewa Wing
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.