At the Kobe, Kobe cabana

Columns Veg'n Out

July 13, 2014

Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

Known for specializing in teppanyaki or hibachi cooking, Kobe Steakhouse is a surprising dichotomy of deliciousness. For while the preparation technique of each meal is traditional — you can always count on its quality and taste staying consistent — one ingredient that is constantly changing is the charismatic nature of each chef who serves you.

From knife wielding, gregarious hibachi grillers, to the more reserved yet equally talented culinary experts, the pizzazz and personality each individual chef (literally) brings to the table, makes every dining out excursion at Kobe a delightful and diverse experience. And even if you are ordering a la carte, the spectator aspect alone of this endlessly bustling lounge is a feast in itself.

“Just the nightly excitement of the business is contagious,” explains owner and general manager Roy Nakamura, when asked about his favorite aspect of running the restaurant. “Every night is different, so you don’t get in the 9-5, Monday through Friday rut. It’s meeting new, different people every night!”

And I know what you must be thinking, but don’t let its meaty moniker fool you — there’s much more than “meats” the eye at this steakhouse and sushi bar. Here are just a few of the animal-free entrees vegetarians can order up this week:

Crispy Asparagus ($6), an ingenious item invented by Kobe’s mastermind sushi chef, Mr. Ha, is only available Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday — when he is working. For this very simple but unique dish, Mr. Ha rolls two small stalks of asparagus in crushed mochi crunch before deep-frying them to a perfectly noisy crisp. In this case, when it comes to deliciousness, hearing is believing.

“This dish is my personal favorite because it’s so unique,” asserts Nakamura. “Our customers cannot figure out what the breading consists of when they first try the dish, and are so surprised when we tell them!”

Veggie Roll ($8) is an inside out roll (rice on the outside) made with cucumbers, avocado, kaiware (radish sprouts), asparagus and chiso. Some items may vary depending on availability, but it is a flavorful and fabulous roll for the price, no matter what the season.

Kappa Maki (Cucumber Roll) ($6) is a traditional Japanese roll made with Nori (seaweed), seasoned rice and cucumbers. A personal favorite, this is a yummy choice for kids (and not to mention a cleverly sneaky way to get them to eat their veggies!)

Regarding sushi making, Nakamura comments on the artistry and aesthetics of each entrée, stating that, “People don’t realize what a true art form this is. The blending of ingredients and the artful display — all done in a matter of seconds!”

And for those who are still up for more veggies (and who isn’t?), Kobe’s also offers an exclusive Veggie Dinner in the teppan room ($14.95) featuring broccoli, carrots, potatoes, mushroom, zucchini and onions.

So, whether dining a la carte or ordering up a grilled creation from one of Kobe’s entertaining hibachi chefs, patrons will be pleased to make this eatery’s acquaintance.

Contact Andy Beth Miller at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

1841 Ala Moana Blvd.
Open daily, Lounge: 5-10 p.m. Dinner: 5:30-10 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best