Food La La: Gokoku opens in Hawaii Kai

Dec. 10, 2014 | 0 Comments


BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Hawaii Kai residents rejoice! A new Japanese restaurant, Gokoku Sushi, opens to the public on Sunday at Koko Marina Center.

On Tuesday, I got to sample some of the sushi and izakaya style dishes that will be on the menu at Gokoku.

Gokoku Sushi is owned and operated by Pierthirty, a Japanese company founded by president and CEO Akiyuki Takahashi. He used 30 in the name because that is how old he was when he started the company in 1986. Pierthirty currently has over 200 restaurants throughout Japan and China. Takahashi said he loves opening restaurants and is constantly coming up with new concepts and ideas. His plan is to open approximately 20 restaurants in Hawaii within the next 10 years, including an Italian Bakery and tempura restaurant in Ala Moana. He eventually wants to expand into the mainland as well.



There are 70 Gokoku restaurants throughout Japan, all known for their healthy and fresh dishes. At the Hawaii Kai location, the fish will be flown in from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo and Takashashi’s fish plant in Fukuoka.

From left to right: President and CEO Akiyama Takahashi of Pierthirty, Gokoku Executive Chef, Katsuhisa Inoue and
Vice President Masayoshi Kurita of Pierthirty USA.

From left to right: President and CEO Akiyama Takahashi of Pierthirty, Vice President Masayoshi Kurita of Pierthirty USA and Gokoku Executive Chef, Katsuhisa Inoue

A deep fried fish for good luck.


I loved the tofu topped with uni! The tofu was very soft with a silky consistency, almost like pudding.


The attention to detail and quality can be seen in all the dishes. I would say the quality of the food is around the same level as the other high-end sushi restaurants in Hawaii. This is chawan mushi topped with edible gold flakes.


This is what heaven must look like — or at least my version of it, filled with delicious pieces of sashimi!


Fresh pieces of nigiri!



From the look on their faces, they take sushi making very seriously here.


The quality of the fish was very good and fresh. My personal favorites were the sweet and creamy uni and the abalone.


The tempura station had a variety of vegetables, shrimp and fish.


This giant ahi was carved up and served sashimi style!



There was also a variety of sushi rolls. My favorite was the salmon avocado roll with chiso.


This is tender rare steak from Oregon with goma sauce.


At first I thought this was dessert, but it is shirako on top of daikon topped with caviar.


The real dessert was a tofu mousse with azuki beans, strawberry and mango. It was creamy but had a particular flavor I can’t really put into words. It wasn’t very sweet and had a bit of a sour aftertaste.

tofu mousse

In celebration of their grand opening month, 20% off coupons will be given to everyone who dines at Gokoku through Jan. 14.
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at

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