Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & BarRestaurant Insider
September 26, 2021
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
ANNE LEE speaks with Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar general manager RYAN KO
This week, Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar general manager Ryan Ko shares with Dining Out readers what’s good on the menu, including everything from traditional Japanese to modern fusion and dessert. In addition to his GM role, Ko is also director of operations with Diamond Dining, which owns and operates Shokudo and Búho Cocina y Cantina.
AL: When did Shokudo open its doors and how did you come up with name?
RK: March 2005. Shokudo in Japanese translates to “dining room.” What our owners wanted to accomplish is to have a large space where people could gather, spend time with their families, celebrate milestones and get together to have fun.
The level of options and quality of the dishes is top-notch and priced affordably, which really brings us regular customers that come in multiple times a week for dine-in and bar seating.
The pandemic has changed the way we operate, making everyone a bit more cautious, but this also increased the demand for our takeout.
AL: With the “Safe Access Oahu” mandate in place, can you walk me through what guests can expect when coming to the restaurant?
RK: When guests first come in, our host will greet you and ask to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within the previous 48 hours in order to dine-in with us. Children under 12 years old are exempt. We will then check your temperature and ask for contact information, to comply with the contact tracing mandate. All our tables are spaced 6 feet apart, and we provide QR codes to view the menus. We are taking all measures to comply with the guidelines that are set in place to ensure safety for our employees and our guests.
AL: Does the restaurant have a specific motto or mission it runs by?
RK: We recently revised our mission statement. We are going to make sure our employees are growing. If they are not growing, we as a company will not grow. That goes for the entire team; from the management, to the front of the house and back of the house. We want to make sure everyone is constantly growing in some shape or form toward their future goal. Investing in your employees will naturally make the company flourish.
AL: What is the restaurant’s most popular dish?
RK: Mochi Cheese Gratin ($7) is one of our house favorites. It’s mochi and mozzarella cheese on top with a little bit of light soy dashi.We bake it in the oven, which melts the cheese and top it off with nori and green onions.
Under our Ishiyaki Menu, is our popular Garlic Shrimp Rice ($15), made with lots of garlic and seven pieces of shrimp, and served in our hot stone ishiyaki bowl, a 500-degree sizzling hot stone bowl we bring to you and mix the rice tableside.
We have a new menu item, Aburi Lobster Nigiri ($22). It’s lightly seared with a little bit of garlic mayo, sweet teriyaki sauce with a little bit of tobiko on top. This one is super tasty and one of my favorites right now.
The next two items are our popular desserts. The Tempura Bread Pudding ($8) has texture and flavors, as well as hot and cold. We take the honey toast bread and chop it all up and make a bread pudding with it.
Our famous Original Honey Toast ($10) — no one ever leaves here without having this — is trademarked to us. We start off with Japanese white bread, toast and cube it out in the middle, dress it up with some butter and honey, and serve it with two scoops of local Roselani vanilla ice cream.
We are known for our drinks — like Kirin. For our cocktails, one of the top sellers is the Blushing Geisha ($11). It starts off with a lychee purée, a little bit of lemon juice, some simple syrup for a touch of sweetness and muddled ume to add some tartness. We have a great collection of Japanese whiskey cocktails.
AL: What are the future plans for the restaurant?
RK: We are moving. The last date to eat at this current location will be Oct. 25. The Honey Toast Cereal Promotion will end at the end of this month, so come in and get your cereal fix, as the limited-time offer expires Sept. 30.