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Eat like a ‘King’

Cover Story

February 14, 2021

Story By: Don Robbins | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Head chef Edgar San Juan serves up superb selections at Sushi King

Sushi King, the creation of Akihiro and Shu-Lee Kondo, has some exciting news — the Moiliili restaurant serving scrumptious, fresh foods turns 30 this year.

Both of the founders, originally from Japan, met in San Francisco in the early 1970s. There, they opened their first restaurant in 1980 called New Akasaka in downtown San Francisco on Bush Street. They owned restaurants in famous Japantown and Union Street before moving to Hawaii.

Grenade Roll ($16)

The Kondos knew they eventually wanted to settle where the weather was warmer and life was not so hectic. So, they packed up their two teenage daughters and moved to Honolulu in 1990. Sushi King was born in the heart of Moiliili in 1991, and now the founders’ daughters Sylvia Kondo Akaka and Tez Hartney are overseeing operations, thus continuing the family legacy.

Sushi King is a casual family-style Japanese eatery equipped with a sushi bar, robata grill and full-service kitchen. Conveniently close to Manoa and Waikiki, Sushi King has become a delicious destination for Japanese food that satisfies locals, students and tourists alike. Reservations are encouraged.

Fresh Oysters ($3 a piece)

Among the mouthwatering options available at Sushi King are choices such as Oyster Shooter ($8), also featuring quail egg, tobiko, Sriracha and ponzu sauces, and green onion. Meanwhile, Fresh Oysters ($3 a piece) have momiji, lemon wedges and other goodies inside. Don’t forget to check out the establishment’s other sumptuous choices like Sashimi Omakase ($55) or Grenade Roll ($16), which are absolutely packed with the best seafood.

“Mahalo to our loyal customers!” Akaka declares. “Takeout continues to be a huge part of our focus. You can call in your order, order online or DM (direct message) us your order on Instagram. Check our Instagram (@sushikinghi) for daily specials and updates,” she adds.

Sashimi Omakase Chef Choice ($55)

“We were also the go-to restaurant for all the UH sports fans that attended everything from the volleyball games, baseball games, basketball games, and even those going to the stadium to watch football. We were open till 2 a.m., so many would return after the games as well,” Akaka recalls.

She shares that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant has had to adjust and find ways to be creative so that it can remain open for customers.

“We remained open for business, but switched to takeout when the dining room was mandated to close and then reopened at less capacity when we could. We are currently running at 50 percent capacity and will continue to adjust according to state-mandated guidelines,” Akaka shares.

She explains that Sushi King’s most popular item remains its JUMBO ($14.95), formerly known as the jumbo platter. Once only available during happy hour, it is now available all day.

Customers can choose from one of the following: ahi katsu, beef teriyaki, chicken katsu, chicken teriyaki, ika and vegetable tempura, salmon katsu, shrimp and vegetable tempura, or vegetable tempura. Then, they can choose one of these sushi items: a California roll (cut into six pieces), cone sushi (three pieces) or spicy tuna roll (cut into six pieces). All are served with rice, tossed salad, home made miso dressing and the eatery’s famous tonjiru miso soup.

“When ordering, for the JUMBO, tell us the protein and the sushi and that’s it! It’s that simple,” Akaka notes.

In addition, also available all day from the restaurant is the Chirashi and Sushi Special ($22.50) — just ask for the C&S Special. It consists of three pieces of sushi and seven pieces of sashimi: maguro, hamachi and ebi, served with tamago and tobiko, and topped with shredded nori over sushi rice.

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