Jingle All The Way To Japanese FareCover Story
December 10, 2017
Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
It’s been just a year and a half since the doors of Teishoku Restaurant flew open to welcome guests, and the restaurant has already gained legions of fans for its delicious, reasonably priced Japanese fusion cuisine.
From a creative menu that includes donburi, sushi, ramen, and the sets for which the restaurant is named, several items have emerged as standout favorites among Teishoku’s regular guests.
In Japanese, teishoku means “meal sets,” and as its name suggests, this restaurant offers a tantalizing variety of beautifully conceived meals. Priced just right, each set includes an entree selection, salad, tsukemono (pickled vegetables), rice and miso soup. According to vice president Jason Zhang, Teishoku’s customers cannot get enough of the popular, traditionally prepared Broiled Butterfish Misoyaki set ($13.75).
The fish is marinated in the restaurant’s own misoyaki sauce — made with miso and mirin — and then broiled. Scottish salmon, Zhang says, also is available for the same price, and prepared in the same style. “It’s just as flavorful as the misoyaki butterfish, but it doesn’t have the small bones.”
Though the teishoku sets offer a well-rounded meal, there’s always room for pupus. The most popular appetizer, Agedashi Tofu ($6.45), is lightly battered, deep-fried and served hot with bonito flakes, roasted seaweed, green onions, and tentsuyu sauce for dipping.
The Spicy Ahi Don ($12.95) also has emerged as a serious crowd pleaser. It’s one of Teishoku’s most popular donburi (rice bowl meals). This generous bowl begins with the guest’s choice of white, brown or sushi rice, and continues with sashimi-grade Hawaiian big-eye tuna and house-made spicy mayo. “The spicy mayo makes our spicy ahi very special,” says Zhang proudly. “It has a good amount of spiciness and not too much mayo.” The don is garnished with masago (capelin roe), and green and white sweet onions.
The restaurant’s most popular rolled sushi, reports Zhang, is the Tempura Roll ($9.45). This tempting, flavor-packed roll includes lightly battered shrimp tempura, masago, cucumber and avocado, and it’s garnished with unagi sauce.
Located in Kamehameha Shopping Center in Kalihi, Teishoku continues to delight its customers with their favorite dishes as well as exciting new flavors. New on the sashimi menu is a fusion dish that Honolulu’s hamachi lovers will find irresistible: Hamachi Carpaccio ($13.95). The luscious yellowtail is sliced wafer-thin, then drizzled with ponzu sauce and garnished with jalapeno peppers, red pepper mix, sweet miso, tomatoes, and green and white onions.
Several factors have earned Teishoku its loyal following: “Reasonable prices, good quality of food, good service and a good amount of food for that price,” says Zhang. There’s also a 10 percent senior discount for guests 60 years and older each Tuesday.
Not surprisingly, Zhang finds inspiration for his eclectic menu on his visits to Japan. “I meet my Japanese friends twice a year and learn new items, including traditional and fusion Japanese food.” He’s delighted to share his culinary discoveries with Teishoku’s guests. “From traditional to fusion, there’s something you want to try, and you will love it.”
What about that butterfish? According to vice president Jason Zhang,
Teishoku’s distributor sells more butter-fish to the restaurant than to any other client. The restaurant’s menu proclaims it serves the “best misoyaki butterfish in Honolulu.” “Butterfish” refers to the way this dish is prepared (the fish is actually black cod, or North Pacific sablefish) — and the end result is the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors.
For those who are unfamiliar with Japanese seasonings, here are some ingredients that combine to create the delicious flavors at Teishoku:
Miso: traditional seasoning created with fermented soybeans, salt and koji (Aspergillus oryzae)
Mirin: sweet rice wine, similar to sake
Misoyaki: sauce made with miso and mirin
Ponzu: citrus-based tart and tangy sauce, similar to vinaigrette
Tentsuyu: tempura dipping sauce, commonly made with dashi (soup stock), mirin, and soy