Japan meets HawaiiCover Story
June 27, 2021
Story By: Lianne Bidal Thompson | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
The concept of kaiseki involves using the freshest ingredients, fitting the place and the season.
On July 1, Akira Japanese Restaurant enters a new season, so to speak, when it reopens for in-person dining. The eatery, helmed by chef Taiki Kawai, had converted to an all-takeout operation during the pandemic, offering bentos, donburi and sushi, among other Japanese favorites.
With the switch to an omakase (“tasting”) menu, diners will get an up-close and personal chance to experience Kawai’s culinary artistry again. The chef, who hails from Japan, arrived in the islands and landed a job at New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, where he eventually rose to the role of head chef. He later served as executive chef at Sushi Izakaya Shinn.
“We have traditional Japanese dishes with local ingredients,” states Kawai. “The dishes are very artistically prepared. Local customers like the high quality and uniqueness of my dishes.”
He adds that the omakase menus available after July 1 will include “eight kinds of nigiri sushi and eight kinds of dishes.” True to the kaiseki style, it will be a set menu and the selection will depend on what’s freshest on that day.