There’s a new sushi bar in town, brought to you by the owners of Kai Ramen (near Ala Moana Center). I was hesitant to go because I had heard about the $250 price tag, omakase only, but friends who tried it were raving about it. And as it turns out, there are three tiers of omakase: $160, which gets you one appetizer and 13 pieces of sushi; $200, which features five appetizers and 10 pieces of sushi; and $250, which gets you six appetizers and 13 pieces of sushi, and includes A5 Wagyu beef and a special Japanese prawn.
(Note that these are the prices, straight up. No gratuity is accepted. Also, my list of dishes listed above is the most current and accurate, since I went back a couple nights ago to double check it with the chef.)
Still, if you’re on a limited budget, this kind of dinner isn’t something you can just do on the fly. You’ll probably have to think about it, as I did, and weigh the value of a supposedly awesome meal against your budget for the week (or month). It’s not for everyone. But we all make choices, and you may or may not make the choice I did. At this writing, Spam is on sale for $1.50 a can at Longs, and it’s looking mighty good as my sacrifice to make up for this splurge.
Was it worth it? See my photos and decide. The quality of the fish is unlike most sushi bars in town, with 80 percent of it being from Japan and 20 percent local. The work and ingredients that go into making the nigiri perfect are done up in true Japanese style. Our waiter/host told us that even he had some doubts that such a high-end sushi bar would be successful in Hawaii, but once he went through a round of menu tasting, he was able to accept the job with confidence.
Sushi Ginza Onodera (28 of 28)
Overall assessment: was it worth it? For the educated palate that can appreciate the research, development, labor and quality that goes into this kind of sushi omakase, yes. It was like being in a sushi bar in Japan, an experience that you won't find in Hawaii.
The second question should probably be, would I go there again? Probably, but not right away. Since the items seem to follow the seasons of what seafood is available, I’m curious to know what kinds of sushi I’d get in the summer or fall. Stay tuned.
These photos were just the highlights of dinner. To see all photos, click here.