Steamed Onaga Special - The Onaga is steamed Chinese-style with a sauce composed of ginger, soy sauce, truffle oil, and olive oil .The sauce was truly rich, fragrant and delicious. The onaga is a tender red snapper, and has an extremely tender, springy bite. This is served over steamed saffron rice.

Review: Duc’s Bistro – An Elegant Bistro That Fuses Vietnamese, French, and Local Hawaiian Flavors

If you think about it, finding a place like Duc’s Bistro in the heart of Honolulu Chinatown is kind of strange. If you think about it some more, perhaps it’s not so strange. Duc’s Bistro is an elegant French fine dining restaurant, run by a Vietnamese couple, using fresh local Hawaiian flavors, on a grimy street of Chinatown. If you don’t know what you were looking for, the restaurant’s store front is easy to miss, particularly because they achieve their clientele mostly through word of mouth. This restaurant concept that can only be described as local Asian fusion, which is something that is pretty characteristic of the mixing pot demographic in Hawaii. Duc’s Bistro, in particular, strives to “cultivate the idea of combining the unique dishes of Vietnamese cuisine with the lush and fresh ingredients of Hawaii.” In this case Duc’s Bistro has a menu concept that is Vietnamese French cuisine infused with Aloha.

Duc's Bistro Restaurant Front - Definitely a place that can be easily overlooked among the vendors and shops on Maunakea St. In Chinatown

Duc’s Bistro Restaurant Front – Definitely a place that can be easily overlooked among the vendors and shops on Maunakea St. In Chinatown

Once you walk into Duc Bistro, you can see that it’s a nice restaurant with a pretty classy French Bistro atmosphere.

Duc's Bistro Restaurant Inside - The general atmosphere inside looks clean and classy; characteristic of a French bistro

Duc’s Bistro Restaurant Inside – The general atmosphere inside looks clean and classy; characteristic of a French bistro

Duc's Bistro Restaurant - The bar and tables inside look nice and clean

Duc’s Bistro Restaurant Inside- The bar and tables inside look nice, clean, and seems to be able to accommodate a large crowd

Feeling a bit ambitious, I went ahead and ordered a typical salad, main, and dessert spread for myself. True to my instincts, the food is as much of a fusion as their restaurant concept. Continue reading

Smoked Tako, Combination Poke Bowl with Hawaiian Style Ahi and Spicy Ahi Over Whole Grain Rice

Review: Ono Seafood – Is it Really That Ono?!

In Honolulu, there’s a lot of hype around the best place for poke, and Ono Seafood seems the be one of the local favorites. Since Ahi tuna is a daily catch around the island, most stores and restaurants will have access to the freshest ahi tuna to make poke, sliced blocks of raw ahi tuna. It’s not hard to find fresh poke on the island, however, poke is more than just that. The Hawaiian poke is a cold salad-type appetizer mixed with several other ingredients.

In comes Ono Seafood. A small shack restaurants with 2 bench tables and 2 small parking spots in a lot.

Ono Seafood Store Front -- The Best Poke in Honolulu!

Ono Seafood Store Front — The Best Poke in Honolulu!

“Ono” in Hawaiian means “delicious, the best”; I don’t know what the best poke is, but Ono Seafood’s poke is certainly one of the best I’ve had.

Ono Seafood Order Counter

Ono Seafood Ordering Counter – Select a combination of mixed ahi poke over brown/white rice for a cheap, ono meal

Once you walk into the store, there is a counter with the menu hanging above so that you can order one of the many mixes of poke they have. You can find the same mixes in the fridge on the side of the wall to simply pick up a half pound of pre-mixed poke for a few bucks. In addition to Ahi tuna, they also have mixes of sliced tako, or octopus.

Here’s the menu:

  • Shoyu Ahi – Ahi Poke with Savory Secret Shoyu, Freen & White Onion, Limu, Kukui, Chili Pepper, Sesame Oil
  • Shoyu Tako – Octopus Poke with Savory Secret Shoyu, Freen & White Onion, Limu, Kukui, Chili Pepper, Sesame Oil
  • Miso Ahi – Ahi Poke with Miso, Ginger, Green & White Onion
  • Miso Tako – Octopus Poke with Miso, Ginger, Green & White Onion
  • Hawaiian Style Ahi – Ahi Poke with Sea Salt, Green & White Onion, Limu, Kukui Nut, Chili Pepper
  • Hawaiian Style Tako – Ahi Poke with Sea Salt, Green & White Onion, Limu, Kukui Nut, Chili Pepper
  • Spicy Ahi – Creamy Mayo Sauce, Tobiko, Ginger, Green & White Onion
  • Wasabi Ahi – Ahi Poke with Wasabi Oil, Kukui, Green & White Onion

Continue reading

Nanzan Giro Giro - Feb 2015 Oshinogi (“3rd course”) - Kinmedai Red Snapper, Monk Fish Liver, Soy Sauce, Shiso Leaf, Sushi Rice, Green Onion

Nanzan Jiro Jiro – Genius Contemporary Japanese-French Fusion Kaiseki (Feb 2015 Set Menu)

Nanzan Jiro Jiro is by far one of the best restaurants in Honolulu that I’d recommend for contemporary Japanese food. Located in the middle of nowhere, the restaurant uses a chef table style  of service where customers sit at a bar-style counter wrapped around the kitchen. With this set up, you get to see in real-time how the kitchen staff cook and plate your dishes as well as a chance to interact with the chef. There is only one large dining table available intended for bigger parties.

Nanzan Giro Giro in Honolulu is headed by Chef Yoshie, a Japanese native, but with culinary training in Paris. He and his partner opened up Nanzan Giro Giro in Honolulu as a kaiseki set menu restaurant with a monthly changing menu using the freshest of local Hawaiian ingredients that fuses both traditional Japanese and French-style cooking. The style of cuisine is called “Kuzushi Kaiseki”, which describes a contemporary version of traditional Japanese cooking with creative flair. Fittingly, the original restaurant is in Kyoto, Japan and they also have a branch in Paris, France.

Random fact: a lot of the plates, cups, bowls, and pottery used and displayed around the restaurant is made by one of the owners.

These guys are impressive. Everyone in the kitchen staff are attentive and knowledgeable about each dish on th menu (as well as with their diverse sake selection). The kitchen is incredibly organized, clean, and there’s no unnecessary movements or noises among the friendly staff.

This place is great for a fine-dining experience in a casual environment. The seven-course kaiseki dinner is $50 ($8 extra charge for dessert).

Below is the service from the February 2015 Kaiseki Menu:

Nanzan Giro Giro - Feb 2015 Menu

Nanzan Giro Giro – Feb 2015 Menu

They have an incredible line-up of dishes with a lot of ingredients in each dish. Nanzan Giro Giro’s flavor theme can be described as fresh, rich, and balanced. There are very few overpowering ingredients, which allows for a very complex, subtle flavor profile that works together very well!

Nanzan Giro Giro - Feb 2015 Starter

Nanzan Giro Giro – Feb 2015 Starter – Uni Sea Urchin, Salmon, Cucumber, Tatsoi, Yuba, Shiso leaf, Vinegar Jelly, Ginger, Soy Sauce

Nanzan Giro Giro - Feb 2015 Soup - Wagyu Beef, Taro, Mizuna, Grated Radish Anakake soup, Eggplant, Wasabi, Micro Rice Cracker

Nanzan Giro Giro – Feb 2015 Soup – Wagyu Beef, Taro, Mizuna, Grated Radish Anakake soup, Eggplant, Wasabi, Micro Rice Cracker

Nanzan Giro Giro - Feb 2015 Oshinogi (“3rd course”) - Kinmedai Red Snapper, Monk Fish Liver, Soy Sauce, Shiso Leaf, Sushi Rice, Green Onion

Nanzan Giro Giro – Feb 2015 Oshinogi (“3rd course”) – Kinmedai Red Snapper, Monk Fish Liver, Soy Sauce, Shiso Leaf, Sushi Rice, Green Onion

Nanzan Giro Giro - Feb 2015 Grill - Duck, Radish pickles, Purple sweet potato puree, Ume, Salt, Wasabi

Nanzan Giro Giro – Feb 2015 Grill – Duck, Radish pickles, Purple sweet potato puree, Ume, Salt, Wasabi

Nanzan Giro Giro - Feb 2015 Main 1 - Oyster Tempura, Steamed Crab Meat & Egg Tofu, Crab & Clam Miso, Yuzukosyu Pepper, Pea Sprout, Lotus Roots, Micro Amaranth

Nanzan Giro Giro – Feb 2015 Main 1 – Oyster Tempura, Steamed Crab Meat & Egg Tofu, Crab & Clam Miso, Yuzukosyu Pepper, Pea Sprout, Lotus Roots, Micro Amaranth

Nanzan Giro Giro - Feb 2015 Main 2 - Black Cod Roe tempura, Gobou Burdock Fish Cake, Kinmedai Snapper Broth, Mitsuba, Black Shichimi Pepper

Nanzan Giro Giro – Feb 2015 Main 2 – Black Cod Roe Tempura, Gobou Burdock Fish Cake, Kinmedai Snapper Broth, Mitsuba, Black Shichimi Pepper

Nanzan Giro Giro - Feb 2015 Dessert - Apple Mint Macaroon, Sweet Potato and Cacao Ice Cream with Peanuts and Pine Nuts Mascarpone, Yuzu Chiffon Cake with Honey Whip Cream

Nanzan Giro Giro – Feb 2015 Dessert – Apple Mint Macaroon, Sweet Potato and Cacao Ice Cream with Peanuts and Pine Nuts Mascarpone, Yuzu Chiffon Cake with Honey Whip Cream

The end of the meal dessert also comes with a freshly made cup of Kyoto Matcha Green Tea – a perfect way to end and amazing meal. I would definitely recommend Nanzan Giro Giro to anyone visiting Honolulu, and even for those that live in Honolulu since the menu changes monthly. If you pay attention, everything about this place – the food, the people, the atmosphere, the decor, the restroom (the entrance to the restroom is hidden behind a rotating secret trick wall) – will offer a fresh experience that can’t easily be found in any other restaurant. The key thing is that the price point also makes this experience incredibly accessible. Do make sure to make a reservation before you go as not only are they heavily booked, they also usually prepare their food and ingredients to just be enough for the number of guests they expect.

 

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/nanzan-girogiro-honolulu