The Main Squeeze

Digest On the Menu

December 15, 2014

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Bodie Collins

Like the sought-after fruit for which it is named, YuZu Ala Moana serves up a unique and memorable culinary experience sure to have diners longing for another squeeze.

Owner and chef Isamu Kubota opened YuZu Ala Moana three years ago at its convenient locale on the first floor of Ala Moana Hotel’s Kona Tower. Kubota brings three decades of restaurant and culinary experience to the table, and operated a handful of restaurants in both Hawaii and Japan prior to launching YuZu.

Yuzu is a rare fruit that originated in East Asia, and is heralded for offering multiple health benefits. The “super fruit” provides ample vitamin C, and is utilized by Kubota in various dishes, including udon — the citrus adds a distinct flavor and freshness to each bowl. YuZu’s udon is so popular that diners from around the world — including Japanese gold medal-winning marathon runner Naoko Takahashi, who is in town for the Honolulu Marathon — make it a priority to dine here.

“The originality of our menu is very important. I want to make delicious food that customers keep coming back for,” Kubota says. “We take a unique approach to traditional Japanese dishes.”

Kubota recently revamped the menu, which features tasty starters, including Chicken Wings with Sweet Corn ($7.50), a popular pupu prepared with shoyu-based sesame sauce, which couples sweetness with a “slightly spicy” white pepper accent.

Those in search of extraordinary udon need look no further than Himokawa Udon ($11.80). Kubota notes that the flavorful udon incorporates large, flat noodles that are unique to YuZu, and provide a “silky” texture. The dish is served with eggplant and Tokyo negi, a Japanese green onion with a mild, sweet flavor.

Deep Fried Jumbo Shrimp ($19.80) is another popular dish on the new menu served in a set with rice, miso soup and vegetables. Kubota explains that he only uses the freshest shrimp available and pre-

pares the dish cutlet style, a favorite of local diners.

YuZu also specializes in an amazing assortment of delicious sushi creations, such as Soft Shell Crab Oshi Sushi ($11.95). The customer favorite is as beautiful as it is tasty — the sushi is pressed in a box, then cut and topped with soft shell crab.

As a special scoop for Dining Out readers, YuZu Ala Moana is offering a can’t-miss Hot Deal via HotDealsHawaii.com. Through Thursday, Dec. 18, customers may purchase $40 in certificates to redeem at YuZu for just $20. As a reminder, the Hot Deal is valid for six months after purchase, and may not be combined with any other special offers or promotions.

YuZu also has a location — Sushi YuZu — at Ko Olina. However, the aforementioned Hot Deal only is valid at the Ala Moana establishment.


Ala Moana Hotel
410 Atkinson Drive, Honolulu
Lunch: Monday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m
Dinner: Daily, 5-9:30 p.m.

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Hawaii's Best