Chew on This

Smoky goodness at Yacchaba

September 29th, 2016
Japanese Restaurant Yacchaba is open 5 to 11 p.m. Tuedays to Sundays. It will eventually offer lunch service as well.

Japanese Restaurant Yacchaba is open 5 to 11 p.m. Tuedays to Sundays. It will eventually offer lunch service as well.

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.

Seafood gets the iburi treatment on stone grill plates made from Mt. Fuji stone. Food is grilled for 2 minutes before eating. The experience also includes grilling over cherry and apple smoking chips.

Seafood gets the iburi treatment on stone grill plates made from Mt. Fuji stone. Food is grilled for 2 minutes before eating. The experience also includes grilling over cherry and apple smoking chips.

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.

A standard starter of potato salad is livened up by a smoked boiled egg.

A standard starter of potato salad is livened up by a smoked boiled egg.

 

Curry Kimpira stood up to the smoky flavors of the rest of the dishes.

Curry Kimpira stood up to the smoky flavors of the rest of the dishes.

 

Another starter, Homemade Atu-age Tofu was delicious.

Another starter, Homemade Atu-age Tofu was delicious.

 

Fried Ebi Bread pieces each had a shrimp inside -- satisfying comfort food.

Fried Ebi Bread pieces each had a shrimp inside -- satisfying comfort food.

 

Inaiwa Udon is a more delicate noodle than what Hawaii folks are accustomed to in an udon. It's soft yet has nice texture. The dish comes with dipping sauce and condiments of green onion, bonito flakes and grated ginger.

Inaiwa Udon features a more delicate noodle than what Hawaii folks are accustomed to in an udon. The noodle is soft yet it has nice body and texture. The dish comes with dipping sauce and condiments of green onion, bonito flakes and grated ginger.

 

Delicious grilled saba, with a smoky touch.

Delicious grilled saba, with a smoky touch.

 

A variety of meats on the stone pot grill -- great to share with a pau-hana crowd. The grill is made of Mt. Fuji stone.

A variety of meats on the stone pot grill -- great to share with friends pau-hana. The grill is made of Mt. Fuji stone.

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