Surf and TurfCover Story
August 15, 2021
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
When chef Dave “D.K.” Kodama and his expert culinary team looked at reopening his line of restaurants following an extended closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the veteran chef and restaurateur turned to his team to make it happen.
Kodama explains that as his signature d.k. Steak House reopened on July 15 in Waikiki, he brought together an “all-star” team of chefs and contributors from the steakhouse, as well as sister restaurants Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar and Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar to contribute their talents and top dishes to a new hybrid menu. Kodama notes that the move has not been easy on his bottom line, however, the strategy represents a commitment to his loyal customers and staff as the local community observes physical distancing with the hopes of reaching the next normal soon.
“By blending the menus, we were able to keep this strong team of chefs employed, and everyone really lends their skills and passions to the refreshed menu,” Kodama says. “We’ve been jamming, and it’s great to see Waikiki so busy. We take care of our guests and employees as best as we can; we practice social distancing with our tables and the restaurant is professionally sanitized regularly, so we’re really committed to keeping everyone safe.”
d.k. Steak House is open Monday through Saturday nights from 5 to 9:30 p.m. within the Waikiki Beach Marriott. Kodama aims to create a “casual elegance” and a relaxed vibe: “If you want to come in shorts, that’s fine!”
Guests can look forward to an array of favorites on the new menu, including sushi selections from Sansei. Dragonfly Roll ($20) yields eight pieces of the freshly rolled starter with spicy tuna and kiaware sprouts rolled urumaki style and topped with fresh ahi and avocado before being served with a sweet Thai chile aioli.
Seafood enthusiasts rave about Bristol Bay Scallops ($23.95) and Cajun Seared Walu Sashimi with Yukke Sauce ($15.75), which features a white tuna with shaved sweet Maui onions, jalapeños and cilantro paired with a sweet, savory sauce.
Lobster & Shrimp Mashed Potatoes ($27) is a perfect accompaniment to the USDA Prime steak selections at d.k. Steak House. This superb side shines with sautéed cold-water lobster tail and jumbo shrimp in a tarragon cream sauce atop creamy mashed potatoes.
d.k. Steak House is known for its stellar steaks, and the Prime Dry-Aged Bone-In Rib Eye ($85) steals the show. This hearty 22-ounce cut is aged for 30 days and offers a delicious, natural flavor as the beef is grown with no growth hormones, steroids of antibiotics.
“Guests can have the best of three worlds with some sushi and sashimi, then jump into some appetizers before enjoying a steak, which is char-broiled in an 1800-degree broiler to lock in that awesome flavor,” Kodama says. “To hear guests say, ‘This is the best steak I’ve ever had!’ is so gratifying, and I guess we’re on the right path. I tell my staff that if we take the time to care about making quality food and do that consistently, then I’m happy.”
For dessert, be sure to check out the Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Crunch Bar ($8.95), which is a favorite of “Restaurant Week” and is constructed masterfully with layers of white chocolate mousse and bittersweet chocolate mousse on a chocolate crunch crust before being finished with a caramel anglaise and fresh fruit.
As a special inside scoop for Dining Out readers, Kodama says diners can look for Sansei to reopen “before Oct. 1,” so be sure to stay tuned.