Culinary creativity

Cover Story

July 18, 2021

Story By: Ginger Keller | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Restaurant Suntory’s washoku sous chef Keisuke Nishi is one of two chefs who created most of the Waikiki eatery’s newer items.

Established in 1980, Restaurant Suntory sits on the third floor of Royal Hawaiian Center, as a place where “everyone can feel like they are in Japan without leaving Hawaii,” says assistant manager Asami Saka.

“We serve authentic Japanese food in an atmosphere that’s been carefully curated to make you feel like you are in Japan,” she continues. “Whether you’re in need of a comforting nabe (hot pot) meal, family-fun teppanyaki grill dining, an intimate seat at the fresh sushi bar, or a traditional kaiseki course menu, you’ll find a real Japanese dining experience complete with the unparalleled hospitality and service Japan is known for.”

Found on the menu, which was considerately crafted by the eatery’s well-versed chefs, is a Grilled Kona Abalone and Heart of Palm with Abalone Sauce ($38), featuring a soft, juicy and slow-cooked abalone and heart of palm is served with a rich, flavorful sauce made with abalone liver and miso. Next, colorful veggies and succulent seafood (shrimps and scallops) are the star of the Wrapped Steam Vegetable with Miso Bagna Cauda Sauce ($24), an offer that’s prepared before your eyes on a Japanese sizzling stone. It’s served with a miso cream sauce.

Deep Fried Filet Mignon with green papaya ($18)

The Seafood Ceviche with Sake Lees Sauce ($24), meanwhile, is lightly marinated with fresh fruits and served with ikura and finger lime, and topped with a sauce made with sake lees.

“While pieces of fresh fruits make this item very refreshing, creamy sake lees sauce adds depth to this classic appetizer with a Japanese twist,” notes Saka.

On the red meat side of things, opt for Miyazaki Wagyu (price varies) which can come one of two ways: delicately sliced for hot pot or simply seasoned and cooked on a teppan grill right in front of you. The Deep Fried Filet Mignon with green papaya ($18) is also a big hit.

Wrapped Steam Vegetable with Miso Bagna Cauda Sauce ($24)

“My personal favorite is our monthly lunch course called Shunsaizen ($34),” says Saka. “There are eight dishes in the course, which changes every month and features ingredients that are seasonal in Japan. Because there is a limited quantity available each day, we tend to sell out quickly. It is highly recommended to call ahead and preorder this menu.”

For drinks, options are fun and abundant, and include favorites like Hawaiian Pineapple Sour ($14), Jim Beam MEGA Highball ($15) and Suntory whiskies ($38/shot).

Hawaiian Pineapple Sour ($14)

“At Restaurant Suntory, we want to be the place for you to feel the surrounding ‘nature and time’ with our Japanese hospitality,’ says executive chef Go Kamikubo. “Treat yourself. Take your time. Let our food take you to Japan. Let us guide you through, all while enjoying the nature and time. We strive to make you fall in love once again with the harmony of washoku, or authentic Japanese food.”

Restaurant Suntory recently launched a new English website with detailed information, like summer promotions that run through mid-September that include a Teppan Value Lunch, the aforementioned Miyazaki Wagyu and alcoholic beverages. Visit restaurantsuntory.com.

Following that, the Waikiki eatery will be closed for renovations from mid-September through mid-December.

2233 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best