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Grand-opening special simmers with savory ‘Umami’ flavor

By Caroline Wright Photos By ANTHONY CONSILLIO
April 30, 2017

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Umami-ya’s chic interior

Preparing a meal at Umami-ya Shabu Shabu is a deliciously contemplative exercise that delights the senses as it satisfies one’s appetite.

Umami-ya’s featured special, Shabu-Shabu, which comes with the guest’s choice of Ribeye or Kurobuta Pork Belly, is a particularly nourishing feast. It’s also priced to please.

Offered in honor of the restaurant’s grand opening, the special is the most recent addition to the menu.

Grand-opening Shabu Shabu special with USDA-Choice Ribeye ($19 special, $29 regular)

The meal, ordinarily priced at $25 (Kurobuta Pork Belly) and $29 (Ribeye), is now just $19.

Diners will soon find that preparation of this savory feast is a rather meditative exercise. At the tabletop burner, patrons cook fresh umami-rich vegetables and meat in a steaming broth, remove impurities with a ladle and drop in sweet mochi rice at the end (optional).

Umami-ya is located on Nimitz Highway. L. TABUDLO PHOTO

“The zosui (option) is served with a raw egg, nori and sauteed kimchee,” explains Angela Choi, Umami-ya’s director of marketing. “Once the porridge starts bubbling, you crack in the raw egg and cook it.

Director of marketing Angela Choi

“It is the broth and sauce that give flavor to each bite,” explains Choi. “The zosui is where all the flavors combine. All that umami — ‘savory flavor’ — fills you up!”

Guests also may opt for udon (wheat noodles) rather than zosui. As enhancements, the house-made citrusy soyponzu and sesame-peanut butter goma sauces are perfection.

For a palate cleanser, Choi recommends Yuzu Sorbet ($7.95), made with the Japanese citrus fruit, or Yuzu-licious Cocktail ($7.95), which also contains yuzu, as well as the barley spirit Iichiko and a secret ingredient, she adds with a wink. Kanpai!

Umami-Ya Shabu Shabu

550 N Nimitz Hwy., Honolulu
Nightly, 4:30-10 P.M. (Last Seating)