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Flavors of Japan

Cover Story

September 19, 2021

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Akira Japanese Restaurant executive chef/owner Taiki Kawai (right) and his wife Itsuko

The skilled team at Akira Japanese Restaurant is cooking up an array of delicious dishes available for dine-in and takeout service as local residents and businesses deal with the physical distancing and gathering mandates implemented as part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chef and owner Taiki Kawai explains that the restaurant’s new, temporary operating hours are Monday through Saturday from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. for takeout service, and 4:30-10 p.m. for dine-in service with last call taking place at 9:30 p.m.

Grapefruit Tai Snapper Carpaccio ($12.50)

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience and hope to be back to regular operations soon.” Kawai says. “I want our guests to enjoy Akira’s food and excellent customer service. I know it’s hard for everyone as we deal with these challenging times, but we are doing the best we can to keep our customers happy here at Akira.”

Spicy Hamachi Roll ($10.50)

Situated conveniently in the eleven50 Building on King Street (the parking entrance is on Young Street), Akira Japanese Restaurant is easily accessible for those stopping in for a dine-in meal, or to enjoy tasty to-go items. When the eatery reopens to full service, it’s the perfect destination for a pau hana get-together, or a delicious lunch or dinner with family and friends.

Kawai and his team prepare traditional Japanese cuisine featuring local ingredients made meticulously to order. Kawai specializes in the kaiseki style of Japanese cooking that incorporates small course meals infused with the freshest ingredients, which results in exquisite flavor, beautiful presentation and a memorable “spirit.”

Dinner Teishoku Set ($25 for two choices) with three kinds of sashimi (six pieces) and grilled miso butterfish

Seared Shine Saba ($7.50) is an ideal appetizer for guests to start a meal with, as the roasted mackerel is accented with vinegar to enhance the flavor. Grapefruit Tai Snapper Carpaccio ($12.50) is another starter on the a la carte menu that is centered around the firm-yet-flaky fish.

Spicy Hamachi Tataki ($9.50) is another must-try starter as the grilled yellowtail is prepared with a zesty sauce. Spicy Hamachi Roll ($10.50) features the roasted Japanese amberjack morsels within a made-to-order sushi roll topped with the signature sauce.

Kawai also recommends Caviar Roll ($18) as vegetable-filled sushi rolls are topped with uni, ikura, mentaiko and tobiko eggs.

Spicy Hamachi Tataki ($9.50)

Akira Bento Box is a great to-go option as guests receive a choice of Miso Butterfish ($13), Miso King Salmon ($13) or Unagi Teriyaki ($15), along with a cold appetizer, chicken karaage, tamagoyaki, rice and pickles all in one set.

In addition, the restaurant has a dinner teishoku set ($18 one choice; $25 two choices) from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Options include beef filet diced steak, grilled miso butterfish, unagi kabayaki and more. All dinner teishoku sets come with an appetizer, salad, pickles, mini udon and rice.

“We continue on because of the support of our customers — they’ve brought us to this point, and I want to do my best to keep guests coming back again and again through the love for my art and for the diners through each dish we prepare,” Kawai says.

When Akira Japanese Restaurant returns to full service in the future, guests are encouraged to enjoy happy hour specials. Be sure to check in with the restaurant’s friendly staff because the popular food and beverage specials change as new items and ingredients become available.

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