Stoked for sashimi

Columns Veg'n Out

October 19, 2014

Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

Any visit to Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is already a delicious experience, with its ocean views and luxurious decor, but add to that a mouth-watering meal from its resident fine-dining restaurant Japengo, and you have the makings of a truly magical memory. Award-winning chef de cuisine Jon Matsubara has taken his extensive culinary knowledge to propel Japengo to an entirely new level by infusing its menu with an eclectic and divine assortment of gourmet offerings.

Matsubara best defines the fare stating that, at Japengo, “We offer Hawaii regional cuisine. Fresh island fish, lobster, shrimp, beef, pork and pristine local produce executed with global technique.” He went on to explain that, “Our customer base is anyone wanting to experience contemporary Hawaiian cuisine.”

So does all this gourmet goodness include vegetarians, you may wonder? Why, yes! Yes it does. Feast your eyes, for example, on this dynamic duo of dishes.

Japengo’s Sashimi of Hamakua Tomato ($16) presents a faux-fish roll featuring avocado, heir-loom radish and kaffir lime vinaigrette. Commenting on its uncannily close resemblance to the “real” thing, Matsubara explains that, “The tomato sashimi works well with vegetarians, because it looks like fresh ahi, but it is actually tomato. The presentation and flavor make it a popular choice, too.”

Just as pleasing to the palate, Tabouleh of Quinoa ($26), infused with myer lemon, roasted pumpkin, blackened tofu and garlic kale, also utilizes one of today’s trendiest vegetarian superfoods — nutrient rich quinoa.

“Grain dishes are in,” notes Matsubara. “You will see more and more whole grain dishes on menus in the coming year. Quinoa, faro, kamut, wheat berries, barley and grits are all substantial vegetarian options. We make quinoa taste like tabouleh — without the gluten.”

When asked what about the restaurant business appeals to him the most, Matsubara admits that it’s the “controlled chaos — all the moving parts coming at you at the same time.” He also offers that, “Stoking out our customers, friends and family never gets old, either.”


Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
2424 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
Daily 6-10 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best