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Food La La: Omakase adventures at Doraku
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Last week I went to check out Doraku Sushi’s newest location at 1009 Kapiolani Blvd. at the bottom of the Pacifica condominium.
Their second location is a bit smaller than their location in Waikiki, but feels cozier. The menu is pretty much the same as the Waikiki location — except the prices are cheaper. Yay!
The bar area.
The fresh fish lined up at the sushi bar.
Doraku has all sorts of sushi rolls and other types of seafood dishes, but that night I went specifically to try the omakase by executive chef Hide Yoshimoto.
For $80, Yoshimoto created an amazing omakase dinner using fresh seafood. If you want to try it, be sure to make reservations so he has time to prepare your meal.
Of course, I had to order sake to go with dinner. This is the “Shogun” sake sampler ($9) with Dewazakura Dewasansan, Dewazakura Oka, and Akitabare Suirakuten sake.
The first dish was an appetizer made with wakame, cucumber, shrimp, tobiko, and spicy tuna. This dish was creamy, well seasoned and the crunchiness of the cucumber gave it a nice texture.
Next was oyster shooters with quail egg, uni, and ponzu sauce. Wow! I really liked this. The quail egg added richness while the ponzu sauce was extremely citrusy and gave the shooter a sharp punch of flavor. This dish is one of Chef Hide’s specialties and can also be ordered off the menu for $6 each.
This is hamachi belly and onaga. The hamachi is topped with jalepeno, shiso, and chili oil. The onaga has shiso, cucumber, and a tomato carpaccio. Chef Hide likes to create dishes with lots of sparkling flavors and bright colors.
This beautifully arranged dish is seared scallop with yuzu, shiso, and an ume sauce. I love shiso but in this dish I felt that it overpowered the delicate flavor of the scallop so I recommend not using too much of it.
The highlight of the omakase was this epic sashimi platter. I was pleasantly surprised at how fresh the fish was. Each piece was pure buttery bliss. The uni was creamy and sweet with just a tinge of brininess. The platter comes on top of a heavy stone bowl filled with crushed ice to keep the sashimi cold.
Then next came the glistening pieces of nigiri! Chef Hide uses his own special soy sauce for each piece.
Locally caught onaga with shiso.
Local farm-raised kampachi with ginger.
King salmon belly.
Big Island Abolone. Crunchy and fresh.
My favorite was this amaebi nigiri with shiso topped with ikura and uni. There were so many flavors going on at one time that my taste buds were very confused, yet elated with happiness.
Amaebi is one of my favorite nigiri to order because it comes with the deep fried shrimp heads. There’s an oily, rich, crispy goodness in every bite. The legs are especially fun to eat because they taste like shrimp chips.
This is Chef Hide’s favorite roll, made with fatty-rich pieces of toro, crunchy takuan, tobiko, and shio. I could pop these in my mouth all day long.
I find it amazing that even though I was stuffed to the point that I could barely breathe, I still managed to eat dessert. Doraku recently created new dessert items, so I just had to try some of them out.
This is banana flambé with green tea cake topped with sesame seeds ($7.95). I pretty much like anything with green tea so I would order this again.
The prettiest dessert was this fried yuki dama with ice cream. It’s made with Japanese bread with a half tempura half macadamia nut coating topped with a fruit salsa ($7.95). I would have a hard time choosing between this and the banana green tea cake flambé.
This is their homemade coconut crème brulee ($5). It tasted like creamy haupia.
According to Yoshimoto, Doraku Kaka’ako will start offering a five-course Omakase in February for only $48, with dishes like tuna tataki, kampachi carpaccio, sashimi trio, panko crusted hamachi and five pieces of nigiri.
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at email@example.com.