Decades of delicious Japanese cuisineA La Carte
October 18, 2020
Story By: Ginger Keller | Photos by: A. CONSILLIO
In 1935, Taisuke and Katsuko Sekiya had the idea to open a restaurant that served a variety of okazu (Japanese delicatessen foods) and dessert delicacies. It turned out to be the idea of the century — well, nearly a century — as the Kaimuki eatery celebrates 85 years.
Consistency is at the heart of everything Sekiya’s does, and that’s exemplified when browsing the menu. Its beloved BBQ Sticks ($2.40), for example, have been a staple for decades. Plate lunches, meanwhile, grew popular during World War II, when they were sold for just 10 cents a pop. Remaining a forever fan favorite, the Kaimuki Avenue storefront offers a variety of plate lunch specials ($10.99), including Marinated Fried Chicken.
“We marinate it in a little bit of garlic, shoyu, ginger and some other stuff,” explains chef/manager Leonard Pare sa. “Then, we throw it in potato starch and fry it, so it’s nice and crispy. That’s served with grated daikon and shoyu as the sauce, and it also comes with two scoops of rice and a side of tsukemono.”
Another must-try is Paresa’s Hamburger Curry, which is comprised of ground beef, carrots, celery, onions and more to boot. This special also comes with rice and tsukemono.
“It’s easy to eat,” he says. “The flavors are great. We’re kind of mixing old and new.”
Other winning plate lunch options include Chicken Katsu, Tonkatsu and Yakitori Chicken. Paresa’s favorite on the menu, however, is Nabeyaki Udon ($15.29).
“You have a lot different flavors — you have chicken, fish cakes, shiitake mushrooms and udon noodles. It’s a whole lot of stuff, but honestly enough for one person.”
Another not-to-be-missed dish is the Spare Ribs ($15.55), which are certainly a labor of love, as they take more than two hours to craft. The meal is completed with rice, miso soup and tsukemono.
“We boil the meat down and make it nice and tender, then toss it in our hoisin/garlic/ ginger/shoyu mix, and then we finish it in our vinegar sauce,” says Paresa. “That way you get the sweetness from the hoisin and the sour taste from the vinegar.
“It’s a really old school flavor,” he adds. “I know I grew up eating it. My family would make it all the time.”
With the holidays just around the corner, Paresa teases that Sekiya’s has an order list that’s being deliberated now, so be sure to keep that in mind if the family is craving its Japanese/local cuisine.
Open daily, Sekiya’s is now open for dine-in, takeout and curbside pickup. To view the full menu, visit sekiyasrestaurant.com.