Happy eating!Cover Story
January 26, 2020
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
As the seasons begin to shift from winter to spring, Rinka Japanese Restaurant, which is named after a ﬂower in Japanese, continues to blossom much to the delight of local diners and visitors alike.
Rinka opened its doors last year on the Aeo tower’s ground level within the bustling Ward Village after relocating from its original location near Ala Moana. Rinka offers an assortment of authentic Japanese cuisine including sushi, tempura, soba and sashimi that are prepared fresh by the talented heart-of-the-house team.
The spacious locale was constructed with an open concept that includes a sushi bar and a sleek interior complete with warm tones and a high ceiling accented by modern lighting elements. Rinka has a private dining room, which includes beautiful wood accents and is ideal for large parties, family gatherings or special events. The restaurant also features a full bar at which guests can enjoy their favorite food and spirits, and ample parking is available in the lot above the restaurant as well as throughout the Ward Village complex.
“We really want to thank our customers,” says Rinka general manager Aki Nakajima. “We were at our previous space from 2013 until last year and relocated to our brand-new location. I really hope our diners appreciate the new restaurant as it’s twice as large as before.”
As spring shifts into focus, Rinka has rolled out a collection of special menu items that are available now, 4-10 p.m., nightly.
Beef Tongue Sashimi ($16.75) is an alluring choice as the tender meat appears to be raw, but has actually been cooked to perfection slowly at a low temperature to lock in all the ﬂavor.
Fried Potato Cheese Ball ($8.75) offers a hearty, rich ﬂavor and a striking presentation as the crispy potato ball is placed atop a spicy cod roe sauce. The cheese ball contains minced fish on the inside and a creamy texture to balance the crispiness of the exterior.
Setsubun Sushi ($9.75) is a perfect option to signify spring taking over. This special item is available exclusively on Monday, Feb. 3 for dine-in guests. Setsubun highlights the end of winter and the beginning of spring, and this sushi creation includes negitoro (tuna and green onion), shrimp, ikura, uni and scallop as well as cucumber and egg. The ingredients signify the freshness and rich ﬂavors of spring.
“We take pride in providing great value, taste and quality. We’re constantly changing our specials so guests can look forward to something new and delicious with each visit,” says Nakajima.
Tomato Ohitashi ($9.75) includes a large tomato presented in a bonito broth jelly, which is garnished with kale and sliced yellow bell peppers.
An ultimate assortment, Chinmi (market price) features an array of three delicacies: simmered abalone, salted squid and crab miso with cucumber.
Spring is Coming!
Setsubun signifi es the end of winter and the beginning of spring, and Rinka’s “Day of the Setsubun” on Monday, Feb. 3 is the perfect opportunity to usher in the new season. Rinka’s Ehomaki ($10, including tax, take-out orders only) is a sushi roll believed to bring good luck when eaten on Setsubun, a custom that began in Japan’s Kansai area. As a tip for diners, when eating Ehomaki, look in this year’s “good luck” direction (West, Southwest) and eat quietly while making a wish. Th is roll should not be cut as that represents the breaking of positive bonds in the future. Be sure to pick up a few rolls on the first Monday of February, and enjoy!