Smoky goodness at Yacchaba
The cozy setting of Japanese Restaurant Yacchaba, Hawaii's first "iburi," or smoked dish, eatery, comes not just from the little nooks of space and warm lighting, but the quiet sizzling and warmth generated by the little hot-stone grills delivered to tables. These keep plates of seafood and meats wonderfully warm and tender so patrons can leisurely enjoy their visit without sacrificing on the quality of the food.
This is supreme comfort food, but what takes the morsels from satisfying to delicious are four flavor salts that accompany the plate: yuzu, curry, yakuri/plum and sansyo. Each delivers a punch of tastiness with just a light sprinkle.
While the stone grills are headliners, there's so much on the menu to keep customers' taste buds engaged: Items such as saba and pork benefit from the special seasoning shio koji, made from rice-malt salt. Starters such as a simple Japanese-style potato salad is elevated with the inclusion of half a boiled egg that's been smoked. The smokiness of the creamy egg adds layers of texture and flavor that elevates the humble dish. Ditto on the Kuro Edamame, with flavor that penetrates the seared shells.
Other delicious items: Curry Kimpira, Fried Ebi-Bread, a fresh smoked salmon salad and Inaniwa Udon, a cold dish centered on thin, soft udon that nonetheless boasts a delicate chew.
The drink menu includes Kirin and Asahi beers, Honolulu Beer works craft beers, wine, sake and shochu.
Yacchaba offers a new way to enjoy fresh, simple, nicely prepared Japanese food, with a flavor profile that is sure to appeal to the local palate.
The restaurant, located at 1718 Kapiolani Blvd., is across the Hawaii Convention Center. It currently serves dinner, but look for lunch service in the near future. Hours: 5 to 11 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays. Call 945-0108.