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Fashioning fusion-style culinary art

Inside Feature

June 23, 2019

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

The Honolulu restaurant’s namesake, Chef Chikara Yamada, spent two seasons in Spain with Adria before returning to Tokyo and launching his own restaurant.

Last year Yamada managed an extraordinary feat: he opened two more eponymous eateries, one in Manhattan and the other in Honolulu, on the corner of Piikoi and Hopaka streets.

Trained at elBulli, the Barcelona restaurant that boasted three Michelin stars in its heyday, chef Chikara Yamada opened his Honolulu restaurant a year ago and is making waves in Honolulu with his creative menus. “We’re establishing food culture with molecular gastronomy that isn’t tied to a particular genre,” says general manager Toshiro Murakami. “It’s a fusion of Japanese and European cuisine.”

“We think of food as art and pursue our own fusion style,” explains general manager Toshiro Murakami. “We want to share the techniques refined at elBulli with the people of Hawaii.”

If you always wanted to try elBulli, if you’re curious about molecular gastronomy, or if you simply want an extraordinary meal, check out the Omakase Course ($75) at this very special restaurant. On a set menu that changes about every three months, Chef Yamada offers guests a culinary journey through his whimsical imagination.

Each Course begins with oshinogi, small dishes meant to whet the appetite. Add caviar to your rice for $15; enjoy impeccable miso soup and homemade sesame tofu. The course presently includes the cocktail of the day, with a clever “homemade olive,” and appetizers like Tarutaru of Seafood and Cold Corn Royale Soup with Green Pea Sauce. It continues with your choice of entree; selections currently include Salmon Vienowazu Tarutaru Sauce, Pork Belly Simmered In Beer, or Wagyu Steak with Original Soy Sauce and Yuzu Pepper (add $20). A choice of tempting desserts includes Roasted Tea Tiramisu and Ice Cream, and Espuma Cheese Cake.

BEEF TONGUE IN RED WINE STEW ($20)

From Yamada Chikara’s A La Carte menu, don’t miss Beef Tongue in Red Wine Stew. Everybody simply raves about this melt-in-your-mouth dish, with delectably savory cubes of meat taken from the fattiest, richest, most tender part of the tongue, braised with assorted vegetables in a flavorful red wine reduction.

INANIWA UDON ($14)

Listed simply as a “Dish” on Yamada Chikara’s A La Carte menu, the Inaniwa Udon with Tomato & Plum Soup is a “Dish or Dessert” option on the current Omakase Course menu. These special udon noodles are made with a unique technique in which they’re flattened by hand, resulting in thin noodles that cook quickly and have a smooth texture. It’s believed that a Japanese culinary master developed the method in the 17th century.

SPANISH OMELET ($14)

A term commonly heard at Yamada Chikara, “Espuma” is a Spanish term for froth or foam created with a siphon bottle. Chef Yamada perfected his espuma technique at elBulli, and he’s applied it to a gorgeous dish here in Honolulu. The restaurant’s Spanish Omelet features caramelized onions, black truffles and potato espuma.

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