Japan meets Hawaii | Akira Japanese Restaurant

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Cover story

June 27, 2021

Story by: Lianne Bidal Thompson | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Taiki Kawai, executive chef and owner of Japanese restaurant Akira, wants readers to know that his establishment will reopen on July 1. L. Tabudlo Photo

The concept of kaiseki is to use the freshest ingredients, adapted to the place and the season.

On July 1, Japanese restaurant Akira enters a new season, so to speak, when it reopens for in-person dining. The restaurant, run by chef Taiki Kawai, had turned into a take-out operation during the pandemic, offering bentos, donburi and sushi, among other Japanese favorites.

Lobster Fried with Arare ($ 15)

With the switch to an omakase (“tasting”) menu, guests will have a personal and up-to-date chance to re-discover Kawai’s culinary art. The chef, originally from Japan, came to the islands and landed a job at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, where he eventually rose to the position of chef. He was then executive chef of Sushi Izakaya Shinn.

Onion salad with beef tataki ($ 10.50)

“We have traditional Japanese dishes with local ingredients,” Kawai says. “The dishes are prepared in a very artistic way. Local customers love the high quality and uniqueness of my dishes.

Ahi Poke ($ 9.50)

He adds that the omakase menus available after July 1 will include “eight kinds of nigiri sushi and eight kinds of dishes”. True to the kaiseki style, this will be a set menu and the selection will depend on what’s freshest that day.


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