Channeling My ‘Inner-Arnold’ at Asahi Grill

Columns Veg'n Out

February 2, 2014

Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Leah Friel

Known for almost seven years now as the “Original Home of the Famous Oxtail Soup,” Asahi Grill, located on Ward Avenue, has become known as the local “go-to” Japanese restaurant as well. High praise, yet the veggie in me wants to know what menu items Asahi Grill has to offer without “tail” (or any other appendage!) in the title … and much to my partaking pleasure, the answer is plenty.

As I take a seat, Asahi Grill General Manager Victoria Sayno wastes no time in making me feel right at home — giving me a firsthand understanding of just why the restaurant has had such a faithful following of locals and tourists alike, for almost a decade. One reason diners rave is the quality of product and stellar service found here. According to Sayno, “Our chef and I really care, and take great pride in the cleanliness of the kitchen, and in keeping high standards for the health and happiness of all our customers.”

And as I sat back and surveyed the scene at Asahi Grill, I saw that Sayno and her team exemplified that — friendly service and quality food, as far as the eyes could see. But back to the basics: what do you have for this Bambi-lover? My query was met with a mouthwatering Tofu and Mushroom Stir Fry ($8.95). Generous bites of lightly stir-fried tofu meets mushrooms (fresh, not canned), tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, celery and carrots before being blanketed in a health conscious coating of low-sodium, NO MSG, housemade shoyu sauce. Served with two scoops of steamed white rice and choice of house-made mac salad or fresh, tossed salad on the side, this dish was a delightful and welcome alternative to the beloved oxtail.

“We also offer a fantastic breakfast here,” assures Sayno. “Our convenient location, early hours (Asahi Grill opens at 6:30), and takeout options make it a great choice for everyone to start their days with.” Even vegetarians, I wonder? As if reading my mind, Sayno swiftly served up the next dish: Vegetable Omelet ($7). A produce-rich powerhouse of vitamins and protein, this hearty (and heart-healthy) omelet boasts a bounty of veggies including celery, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and carrots. “You can even leave out any specific vegetables you don’t want,” adds Sayno.

Also served here is a smattering of vegetarian-friendly hotcakes, breakfast specials and decadent French toast items that’ll get even the grouchiest morning grump out of bed to bite into. After sampling the dishes and seeing the excellent care each customer receives at Asahi Grill, Sayno doesn’t have to sell me on the truth of her statement: “We love the customers and want them to come back.” No worries there. And just so it is clear that I am one happy customer, I muster up my most impressive “inner-Arnold,” assuring Sayno “I’ll be baaack” for a sequel — ready to terminate some more tofu, and perhaps another omelet.

Contact Andy Beth Miller at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Asahi Grill

515 Ward Ave.
Sunday-Thursday, 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96814

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best