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Pleasing diners one teishoku set at a time

A La Carte

November 18, 2018

Story By: Don Robbins | Photos by: FILE PHOTOS

Miso Butterfish ($20, lunch)

Prepare for bliss to pass through your lips, when you chow down on all the yummy food served at Yajima-ya Japanese and Local Cuisine on South King Street in Honolulu.

True to its name, this comfy eatery with wooden tables and relaxing decor dishes out a great mixture of Japanese and local Hawaii favorites to please customers who keep coming back for more. The meals also are artfully arranged by the talented restaurant staff to intrigue the eye as well as the tummy.

Avidly consumed meals at this welcoming restaurant include teishoku courses, which consist of a Japanese set meal, including a main dish, miso soup, rice, kobachi (side dishes), and tangy pickles.

The restaurant’s roots emerged back in 2009, when the Yajima-ya lunch wagon began its business, selling primarily Japanese dishes like soba and udon.

Daily Special Bento ($25, dinner)

Later, this wagon’s menu widened its scope to encompass its fan-favorite Mushroom Chicken, and also donburi — rice bowls including meat, fish, veggies and other goodies.

Pumped up through word of mouth, social media and local news outlets, the lunch wagon’s food became so sought-after that its owner decided to open Yajima-ya Japanese and Local Cuisine restaurant to satisfy the demand.

General manager Miha Fukumasa explains that some of the goodies available at the eatery include Yajima-ya’s Daily Special Bento ($25 dinner). It features different ingredients each day but typically includes items such as sashimi, tempura, sushi, meats like chicken karaage or katsu, vegetables, fish, soup and salad.

Fukumasa shares that another option is the Miso Butterfish ($20 lunch), a hearty offering that boasts a thick chunk of melt-in-your-mouth fish carefully coated in the restaurant’s special miso marinade, and grilled to perfection.

Hamburger Steak Demi Sauce ($15, lunch)

Additionally, another crowd pleaser on the menu is the Hamburger Steak Demi Sauce ($15 for lunch), which bursts with two large, succulent hamburger patties. They are enrobed in a newly updated demi sauce, which maximizes the deliciousness of this dish, Fukumasa notes.

Don’t forget to leave some room for dessert too though, because meals can be completed with seductively beckoning sweet treats like Homemade Japanese Sponge Cake with Hot Shizuoka Green Tea, Yuzu Sorbet or Black Sesame Ice Cream.

Fukumasa shares that the restaurant will be open on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas to help spread the holiday joy with customers.

Originally from Japan, Fukumasa became general manager of the restaurant in June. She knew the owner and previous manager and when an opportunity to work at Yajima-ya recently arose, she eagerly seized it. She said her fervent desire is to show the clientele a lot of “omotenashi.”

Fukumasa explains, “It’s a Japanese way of welcoming the customers, making them feel comfortable and happy.”

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