Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: The CutleryRestaurant Insider
May 28, 2023
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: REID SHIMABUKURO
ANNE LEE speaks with The Cutlery’s executive chef RICKY MURAKAMI
I was very curious how a barber shop and a steakhouse became one. It’s simple:You have an owner who needs a weekly haircut, another owner who has an affinity for good steak and wine, and a chef who has a passion for creating a menu that caters to the local palate with dishes that will amaze you. That’s how The Cutlery – Kaimuki’s Neighborhood Steakhouse & Barbershop was born.
The owners Jordan, Jed and executive chef Ricky Murakami gave me the full tour, and I also got to sample some of chef’s delicious creations. When you can make a basic staple taste that good, it translates to everything else on the plate.
AL: How did you get into this industry?
RM: My mom used to work at Fort Shafter and helped me get my first job at Hale Ikena as a dishwasher. I really didn’t care for working in a kitchen, but I needed a job because my mom was a single mom.
When my daughter was born, I chose to become a stay-at-home dad to take care of her. When she became old enough for school, I needed to find a job. I was helping this guy at a car detail shop — and it was the worst job ever. That’s when I realized cooking seemed so much better. I actually looked at the Honolulu Advertiser’s help wanted section and saw that Ruth’s Chris Steak House was opening in Waikiki. I applied and started there as the broiler cook.I worked with them for about 13 years.
AL: Your menu is simple yet one of the best that I have tried. Your chili pepper water is phenomenal. What did you prepare for us today?
RM: My take on the chili pepper water is to make it more vibrant and hotter. I enjoy spice!
I never had any formal culinary training; I create the menu by what I enjoy making and like to eat. Everything we prepare out of this kitchen is handcrafted and made to order, and some dishes may take longer.
I try to do the best at what we do, and, after working at one of the best steakhouses for years, our goal is to create an approachable steakhouse that offers the same prime steaks set at a modest price point.
Today, we made the Oxtail Ragu ($35). We wanted a pasta dish on the menu, and the base is like a beef or oxtail stew. We braise the oxtail and created a ragu sauce with San Maranzano tomatoes. When you put the two together, it’s magic.
Pulehu Tako ($22) features charred scallion aioli, inamona and micro cilantro, and is served with a side of Hawaiian chili pepper water.
The Porterhouse for Two ($125) is a 40-ounce USDA Prime New York striploin and filet mignon cooked over kiawe wood.
The Fire Roasted Bone Marrow ($24) features Hawaiian chili chimichurri, pickled red onions and crostini.We encourage you to order the Duck Fat Fries ($12) to dip into the marrow.
The Tristan Lobster Pasta ($45) features buttery lobster over pasta.
We also have the 16-ounce USDA Prime Rib-eye ($60).
On Fridays and Saturdays, we offer Prime Rib (contact for cost), and you can request it Paniolo Style, charred on live kiawe fire. The Nakamura Cut Prime Rib ($60) is a 16-ounce USDA Prime steak, smoked for seven hours on kiawe wood. Meanwhile, the Nakamura for Two ($120) is a 32-ounce kiawe-smoked USDA Prime steak. Both come with bone marrow au jus and creamy horseradish.
AL: What do you think is unique about the restaurant industry?
RM: I had challenges in high school and didn’t make the best choices. I had to leave school in the 10th grade. No matter what type of education background you have, this industry is accepting and gives you a chance. Leighton Miyakawa (from Ruth’s Chris) took a chance on me back in the day. I want to bring that out in our team, whether it’s in the back of the house or the front of the house.
This also provides a place for me to show my daughter that this is my baby that I raised since she was born. I wanted her to be a part of this journey because she always made sure that I made the right choice. I want to build a legacy for her that she can take on.
AL: Can you tell me more about the barbershop?
RM: We also have the most talented barbers on the island. We offer a full menu of services, from kids cuts to straight razor shaves. You can schedule appointments at 808-260-1321 or online.