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Diners say ‘kanpai’ to tasty sushi, sashimi

A La Carte

May 20, 2018

Story By: Caroline Wright |

Sashimi Platter ($40) with shimesaba (tighten mackerel), hotate (scallop), chu toro (fatty tuna), kinmedai (red snapper) and shima-aji (striped jack)

For more than a decade, chef Shoichi Kosaka learned his trade in traditional izakayas, or Japanese pubs, absorbing the most authentic techniques from some of Japan’s most accomplished culinary artists.

At Japanese Restaurant Aki in Kaimuki, Kosaka brings those flavors to life for appreciative guests who have discovered this little 11th Avenue treasure.

Sashimi Platter ($40) with akami (tuna), shima-aji, nama tako (giant octopus), ika (squid) and chu toro

With the arrival of spring, this cozy eatery will feature two dishes that showcase Kosaka’s skills in the form of sushi and sashimi. These platters are available both during lunch and dinnertime, and are perfectly accompanied by your favorite adult beverage from the sake and beer menu.

For $40, the Sashimi Platter is a beautifully presented, impeccably fresh collection of five types of seafood that will thrill the most discerning palate. For larger appetites, maybe even to share, seven delec-table pieces are temptingly arranged on the Sushi Platter (market price).

Sushi Platter with akami, ika, anago (saltwater eel) and more (market price)

“We have a real Japanese chef using Japanese fish. We order it two or three times a week, and it comes directly from Haneda Airport (in Japan),” explains general manager Eric Rogers.

One might see akami, maguro, shima-aji, shime saba, tako, ika, chutoro, and/or anago on the slab, depending on what Kosaka deems freshest and finest. “It’s the same fish they’d use in Japan,” Rogers adds.

Each evening, the grill at Aki is fired up and delectable yakitori selections are grilled by Rogers himself over Binchotan charcoal, used since the Edo Period 300 years ago and made of carbon so pure it produces clouds of smoke as white as snow. Guests may choose from wonderfully rustic offerings like quail eggs, chicken hearts, beef tongue, and asparagus wrapped in pork belly.

“Everything is really fresh, quality Japanese food. It’s izakaya-style, but kind of like washoku (traditional Japanese fare),” Rogers says. “And our prices are cheaper, like izakaya prices!”

That calls for a kanpai!

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