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New eats: Chez Kenzo

We checked out the new Chez Kenzo Bar & Grill on King St., and found it was a stroke of Genius

Posted February 28, 2013 by Melissa Chang

As you know, I love Genius Lounge in Waikiki, but it’s hard to get there. You have to fight Waikiki traffic and find parking, which can be problematic when you spontaneously want to go somewhere different for a drink. I was excited to hear that Chez Kenzo was opening in my neighborhood, right in the old Verbano space on King St., so I could get all of my favorites from Genius and more.

It’s not super clear why owners Ken Kawasaki and Kenzo Tokeshi are no longer with Genius. Maybe it doesn’t even matter. It sounds like it was amicable enough; Kawasaki simply said, in philosophical Japanese style, “I planted a tree, and have taken a seed.” The new restaurant features items from Genius, plus more, in a menu that fills several pages, and the servings are slightly larger to appeal to a more local crowd. If you don’t live nearby like all the beautiful people do, you can park in the lot or on the street (free after 6 p.m.).

If you recall, the unusual menu at Genius was developed around what the owner liked to eat when he was drunk, so you won’t find dishes like this — at least, not all on one menu — anywhere else in town. Since I already knew what a lot of things tasted like from the other restaurant, I decided to try as many new things as possible with my friends.

Chez Kenzo (1 of 21)

Chez Kenzo

Usually when you walk through the door at Chez Kenzo, the first person you'll see is owner/manager Ken Kawasaki, at left. I found the owner/chef and namesake, Kenzo Tokeshi, in a rare moment outside.

Chez Kenzo
1451 S King St.

Chez Kenzo is currently open nightly for dinner from 5 p.m. until about 1 a.m., depending on the ebb and flow of the crowd. Kawasaki says they’re planning to open for lunch soon, and hopefully for breakfast if he can get support from tour groups. By the way, there are also several desserts, but I have always been too full by the end of the meal to try any. Tell me if they are any good!



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  1. Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm


  2. Annoddah_Dave
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Delicate Blossom:  So the thing is to get sauced before ordering fuud.  Everything will taste guud.  That is the “genius” of this place.

  3. konaish
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to the place! If you ever want to go back to try the ume pasta, I’ve had that on my mind. Lots to try there!

  4. Melissa808
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    @Annoddah_Dave haha but most of the stuff does taste good!

  5. Melissa808
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    @konaish me, too! I’ve seen people posting about the ume pasta and wanted to try. We go!

  6. rhtakara
    Posted March 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    We went there last nite.  Ume pasta, pesto pasta, kabocha w/ bacon, hummus, four cheese pizza, rock shrimp, pork chop salad, hamburg steak, kim chee om rice, parfait and cheesecake.  All were great.  Saketini was smooooooth.

  7. Melissa808
    Posted March 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    @rhtakara mmmmmm how was the ume pasta?? I haven’t gotten a chance to try that one.

  8. rhtakara
    Posted March 2, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    @Melissa808  @rhtakara One of my favs of the nite.  Nice twang to the taste with a hint of shiso.


About Melissa Chang

Melissa has been blogging regularly since 2007 and has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing and public relations. She is currently an independent marketing consultant, specializing in social media. 

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