Food La La: Chez Kenzo
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Recently I’ve been frequenting Chez Kenzo, a new lounge located on S. King St. where Verbano restaurant used to be. The owners are formerly of Genius Lounge in Waikiki, so a lot of the food items are the same — except served in bigger portions for us food-loving local people!
I was excited when I first found out they were opening in Makiki since I enjoyed their food at Genius Lounge, but parking in Waikiki can sometimes be a hassle.
On my first visit to Chez Kenzo, I was overwhelmed by the amount of dishes on the menu (more than 100!). Luckily one of the owners, Hiroshi Suzuki, happened to be behind the bar and went through the menu with me and recommended some of his favorites.
I’ve been going to Chez Kenzo for a few weeks now and tried a bunch of their dishes, so I will share some of my favorites. Their specialty is Japanese-inspired fusion dishes.
First off, happy hour is every day from 5 to 7 p.m. with cheap menu items and drink specials like $5 sake, $3 draft beers, and $3 sangria!
This is their deep fried rock shrimp ($6) off the happy hour menu. The shrimp just has a lightly fried batter on it and comes with a tangy thousand island tasting dip.
This is the four-cheese pizza with pesto sauce ($6) which is also from their happy hour menu.
Cheese covered gyoza ($8)? Yes, Please! This is one of their popular items. It’s pieces of gyoza filled with pork topped with crispy-gooey cheese. It went great with the mustard sauce.
The homemade menchi katsu ($8) was also a winner. It’s a panko fried hamburger with mashed potatoes covered in tons of gravy.
Whenever I visit Japan, I overload on dishes with mentaiko in it. The salty, slightly spicy and fishy taste is borderline addicting so the mentaiko pasta ($11) is one of the dishes I often order.
Actually it’s a toss-up between the mentaiko pasta and the uni pasta ($16). I enjoy the sweet, semi briny taste of uni in this pasta.
Kabocha is one of my favorite things to eat at home as a snack, so I often order this kabocha and bacon dish ($10) as well. The sweet and salty combination pairs great with drinks.
This is basically just steak fries covered in cheese ($5) but a chilled glass of sake goes wonderful with it.
The sautéed chicken thigh with citrus pepper is juicy and flavorful ($9).
Can’t go wrong with ordering some crispy pork katsu ($13)!
Chez Keno is located at 1451 S. King St. and is open daily from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Call 941-2439.
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at email@example.com.