Where Teppanyaki Treats & Savory Sushi Rule

Columns Foodie Fare

September 16, 2012

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Leah Friel

At a restaurant that is named after one of the most universally renowned cuts of beef, customers naturally will expect excellence from Kobe Steak House and Sushi Bar. And they certainly will find it at the Waikiki restaurant, which serves up teppanyaki treats and savory sushi.

Nestled in between Hilton Hawaiian Village and Ilikai Hotel, the restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy good food and a lively atmosphere when you’re in Waikiki. In the main dining room, the chefs expertly prepare each meal table-side, teppanyaki-style, as diners watch.

“To me, it’s one of the original concepts of seeing your food before it’s even cooked and prepared,” general manager and owner Roy Nakamura says. “You get to see it in its natural, fresh form … It’s one of the oldest concepts, but I guess that it has (returned), and it is what people expect now when dining.”

For a taste of teppanyaki, try the Chicken and Shrimp ($29.95), which Nakamura says is one of the most popular dishes.

If that doesn’t already have your mouth watering, the other half of what Kobe has to offer — the quality concoctions in its sushi bar — certainly will. Tucked away in the restaurant’s lounge area, the sushi bar provides a peaceful area to enjoy a sushi dinner.

“The lounge is a really intimate, quiet place to escape to,” Nakamura says.

One of the most popular sushi dishes is the Spider Roll ($13), which features soft-shell crab. Another must-try is the Salmon Skin Roll ($9), which is filled with grilled-to-perfection salmon skin.

For another delectable delight, try the Hamachi Sashimi ($13) which features seven slices of fresh hamachi. “Hamachi is a very delicious fish,” Nakamura says. “And we serve a really good slice.”

But if all of those options are making it too difficult to choose, it’s best to go with the Emperor Tray ($23.95), which boasts assorted sushi based on the chef’s selection. Nakamura says that maguro, hamachi and salmon typically will be three of the featured items, and the rest will vary.

On the Side

Kobe Steak House and Sushi Bar has been a popular gathering place for the last 40 years. As one of Waikiki’s mainstays, it is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

Roy Nakamura and wife Lynn purchased Kobe about two years ago — and they are loving every minute of it.

“It’s a headache, but it’s a really good headache,” Nakamura says, laughing. Nakamura had been a longtime staffer with the restaurant, where he first started as a bartender.

And although the eatery has a long history, the Nakamuras have been putting their own spin on the restaurant, adding or changing certain features. Recently they hired a new sushi chef, Jason Manibog, to add new flavors and flair to the sushi bar.

Manibog started working at Kobe about a month ago — and Nakamura says the new chef’s presence is something that guests should look forward to.

“Every chef has their own personality and touch with sushi,” Nakamura says. “Jason has got a local style, and a great flair. He is very creative. I think he will be a good addition to Chef Eiji. He has a fresh approach. His creations are really nice and a little different.” While Kobe’s approach to sushi has typically been more traditional fare, Manibog has a modern, fusion style.

Nakamura also anticipates that in addition to putting his own style on each of Kobe’s tasty sushi dishes, Manibog also may be creating his own dishes in the coming months. Nothing is officially in the works yet, but the owner is already dropping hints.

“I am pretty sure he has some stuff in mind,” Nakamura says.

Kobe Steak House and Sushi Bar

1841 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
Open daily, 5:30 to 10 p.m. (last order)

Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best