Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Kaku’s Sushi and Seafood BuffetRestaurant Insider
July 21, 2019
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
ANNE LEE speaks with executive chef and owner of Kaku’s Sushi and Seafood Buffet KAKU MAKINO and assistant manager JULIE KANO
What happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily always stay in Vegas, especially when it’s the delicious food served by Kaku’s Sushi and Seafood Buffet.
This restaurant — owned by notable executive chef Kaku Makino — has a Las Vegas eatery currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Adding to the excitement, the business opened its newest location at Waikiki’s International Market Place in May.
“We are a favorite among the locals in Las Vegas. It’s very difficult to operate a successful restaurant for 20 years consistently. We owe the success to our amazing staff,” Makino shares.
Kaku’s Sushi and Seafood Buffet specializes in sushi, other styles of Japanese food and seafood.
“We are using a local ahi from Hawaii and some of the fish we get from Las Vegas,” Makino explains.
Being able to source food items from several regions helps keep costs down for the company and allows it to serve the ultimate in quality and freshness for reasonable prices, he adds.
Chef Makino entered the culinary industry when he started a bento business in Tokyo, Japan at the age of 20 and operated that for 20 years. He says his hero was Rocky Aoki from Benihana.
Makino and Julie Kano, the assistant manager, elaborate more about the latest news at the restaurant.
AL: What does Kaku’s Sushi and Seafood Buffet bring to the Hawaii food scene? KM AND JK: A great deal, value, quality, variety and real genuine Japanese sushi. We use a lot of high quality seafood, fresh crab and shrimp. We want to promote our lunch options in Waikiki and encourage the local people to come and try us.
AL: What makes the restaurant stand out from other restaurants on the island?
KM AND JK:We are the best deal in Waikiki, on Oahu. Our owner’s concept really gave an option that was ahead of its time to diners. Back then, sushi buffets were not around. You had either a Chinese buffet or just a sushi bar. Then, 36 years ago, Kaku opened up Todai on the mainland, a sushi buffet. He wanted to open the doors to diners that could come to a casual setting and not worry about the price, and try all types of sushi. The new ownership took over Todai 20 years ago and Kaku created his Las Vegas restaurant.
Kaku Makino has devoted himself for 40 years to the art of the sushi buffet. He wants to serve his delicious food — which is high quality and as much as you can eat.
After decades of practicing the art of Japanese cuisine, Makino has developed the highest standards for buffet-style dining, with a beautiful atmosphere, friendly staff, and quality that transcends expectations.
By only using the finest ingredients and the utmost care in crafting its authentic cuisine, Kaku’s distinguishes itself as the only gourmet Japanese sushi and seafood buffet in town. Kaku’s continues to be owned and operated its original founder and his team of world-class Japanese chefs.
Our unparalleled selection is beyond description — crabs, oysters, shrimp, traditional sushi, nigiri, udon, ramen, and authentic Japanese salads and delectable desserts. Words cannot do justice to the smorgasbord of delightful delicacies.
AL: What is Kaku’s most popular dish? KM AND JK: All of the high-end seafood, sushi, clams, shrimp. That’s the beauty of a buffet, you pay one price and you have a wide variety. If you purchased these items a la carte, it would be very expensive. The buffet allows you to try items and go back for more of your favorite dishes, and pick and choose your items. During dinner time, the crab is the favorite on the buffet, as well as fresh oysters.
AL: What are the future plans for the restaurant?
KM AND JK: This restaurant was our owner’s dream. He’s always wanted to have a restaurant here. At 76 he has opened up this restaurant in Waikiki at International Market Place. Even though the location is Waikiki, he wants to encourage locals to come. Similarly, in his Vegas location, although it is located near the strip, his customers are mostly local.
AL: If you had to choose one thing to eat every day for an entire year, what would it be and why?
KM AND JK: Kaku’s Fried Noodles. It’s one of a kind. I’ve never tasted anything like this.