Menu variety still rules at Sekiya’s

Columns Foodie Fare

August 31, 2014

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

Sekiya’s Restaurant and Delicatessen has been serving up local-style Japanese eats since it opened in 1935. And for the families of many of those original customers, Sekiya’s is still a family favorite.

“We’ve got people who have come in for four or five generations,” explains David Morihara, whose grandparents founded the restaurant and who is one of the co-owners. “And a lot of the families come in with their grandparents and their kids.”

Good thing for these multigenerational parties that the restaurant has a widely varied menu that features everything from hamburgers and saimin to traditional Japanese items to keep everyone happy.

The restaurant is particularly noted for its okazuya, which is akin to a Japanese deli, and it’s easy to see why. The okazuya is filled with about 30 selections of local and Japanese favorites — as well as some creative dishes that are all their own like the Corned Beef Hash Tempura Ball.

As pictured here, for example, the Okazu (prices vary based on your selections) can include offerings like maki sushi, gobo, nishime (Japanese vegetables), garlic chicken, shoyu chicken, barbecue meat, luncheon meat, fried rice, shrimp tempura and fried noodles.

For a similar option that’s already done the choosing for you, check out the Special Bento ($5.50) that comes with a soda. The bentos may consist of a variety of dishes such as fried chicken, shoyu chicken, barbecue meat and shrimp tempura.

When Morihara’s grandparents first launched the restaurant, it was a saimin stand. But over the years, it has steadily expanded.

“A lot of this was a common style of food for Japanese-Americans,” Morihara explains. “It’s traditional foods that they had brought with them, as well as the American favorites as their children and grandchildren became Americanized and wanted things like hamburgers and hot dogs.

“A lot of our recipes were developed from the 1930s to the 1950s,” he adds. “In fact, people complain if we change it.”

If it is traditional fare you’re after, the restaurant also has got you covered with the homemade Chicken Sukiyaki ($15.95), which Morihara says is a type of Japanese stew. It’s comprised of yam noodle, shiitake mushroom, tofu and Chinese cabbage as per an old family recipe. The Sukiyaki also can be served with beef or pork.

Seikiya’s also has added a few local favorites to its menu over the years, including Loco Moco ($12.25). The dish itself may be ubiquitous, but Sekiya’s rendition brings something to the table. The hamburger patties are made in-house, and the homemade gravy is created by roasting beef bones for hours. Like most of Sekiya’s menu items, the Loco Moco is served with miso soup, tsukemono and green tea.

Although it’s got a long legacy, Sekiya’s also isn’t afraid to change things up. For one, it recently completed a series of renovations that included reviving the fish pond, updating the dining room and installing new kitchen equipment.

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Sekiya’s Restaurant and Delicatessen

2746 Kaimuki Ave., Honolulu
Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96816

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