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Traditional recipes provide comfort, nostalgia to community

A La Carte

October 3, 2017

Story By: Stephanie Kim | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

Nitsuke Butterfish ($18.95)

Tucked away on Kaimuki Avenue is Sekiya’s Restaurant & Delicatessen, a local-style Japanese eatery serving noodles, okazu, sukiyaki, donburi and more since 1955.

The restaurant comes from humble beginnings, opening in 1935 on School Street and selling only various okazu, shaved ice and ice cream. Twenty years later, Sekiya’s made its way to its current location in Kaimuki, where it remains a community staple.

Part of the eatery’s success comes from its recipes, which are passed down from each generation. Examples of this can be found in Nitsuke Butterfish ($18.95) and Shrimp Tempura ($14.95), both full-course meals that come with miso soup, rice, tsukemono and hot tea.

Deanna Hara, one of Sekiya’s managers, says these dishes came from Dorothy Kaito, her great aunt.

Shrimp Tempura ($14.95)

Hara says that one of her favorites is the butterfish because it’s soft and tastes so good. Customers can expect to find plump butterfish pieces swimming in a homemade sauce of shoyu, daikon, sugar and dashi.

The shrimp tempura, on the other hand, is a crunchy delight that pairs well with the homemade sauce. Manager Trey Paresa shares that the shrimp tempura gets its crunch not from panko, but from how it’s prepared. First, the batter is sprinkled into the fryer, then the shrimp is laid down into an envelope of batter. The meal comes with three pieces of shrimp tempura, along with a few pieces of vegetable tempura.

Both dishes are very popular among patrons, says Hara. And, as a special treat for kupuna, Hara mentions that on Mondays, seniors (ages 65 and older) receive a 10 percent discount off their entire check if they dine in.

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