Thursday, May 17, 2018

Honolulu: Sushi Sho, Senia, Sweet Home Cafe, The Pig and the Lady.


Sushi master Keiji Nakazawa oversees Sushi Sho, the debut restaurant opened outside of Japan. Nakazawa pairs varying temperatures of rice seasoning to different types of fresh fish to maximize flavor. With only 10 seats, this exclusive restaurant is an extremely difficult reservation, fully booked weeks in advance. Dining is omakase-style with each course selected by the chef.

I did not take photos for various reasons, but I do want to say, and many readers know my extensive experience at the most exclusive traditional Japanese restaurants in Japan and elsewhere, that Sushi Sho was one of the finest Japanese dining experiences that I have enjoyed outside of Japan, perhaps the finest. Anyone traveling to Honolulu loving Japanese food should book this resto well in advance. There are two seatings available at $300 per person.

The rather large room resembles an amphitheater, with its high ceiling dark beams of mixed woods that surround the sushi counter in a wide arch. About 10 inset ceiling lights flood down on the counter focusing on the head chef and his two assistant chefs perform their craft.
The head chef, listened to everyone's questions and had precise thoughts and recommendations on beers and sakes to match what he would be serving and well considering our tastes or preferences. 


Maine scallops, perfectly cooked, with mushrooms, English peas and shiro dashi broth. Well composed and delightful.

Mushrooms with caramelized onions and rye crisps.

"Tako (octopus) a la plancha" with lap cheong (Chinese sausage), daikon and XO sauce (chopped dried seafoods {which may include conpoy, dried scallop, squid and shrimp} subsequently cooked with chili peppers, onions, garlic, Jinhua ham and shallots). 

Potato and apple gratin topped with fine herbes mousseline.

Hirabara Farms thumbelina carrots with harissa and sesame.

Charred cabbage with shio kombu, green godess and buttermilk.

Triple smoked king salmon, juicy with wonderful texture and perfectly cooked medium rare, accompanied by crispy lemon and chive waffles, sweet pickles, brown butter and maple onion jam.

"Fluffy cheesecake (Japanese style) 


This hot pot resto was inspired by the owner's Taiwanese heritage.

1. Take your seat in this small restaurant. You may share a large family style table. Choose your preferred soup stock from among 15. The soup is brought to your table in a divided stainless pot that accepts 2 soup stocks and is placed on an induction burner. Rice is also available.

2. Walk to the back of the resto where multiple refrigerators contain over 200 choices from fish, clams, shrimp, crab, mussels, poultry, beef tendon, tongue and beefsteak, pork slices, pork belly, tofu, about 15 kinds of green veg, daikon, 12 different kinds of mushrooms, 3 different kinds of cabbage, various kinds of dumplings such as spinach, various kinds of dim sum, noodles and everything in between. They are all on colored plastic plates wrapped with plastic. The cost per plate is based on the plate color, starting at $2.99. You can selects as many ingredients as you wish. The menu also has a list of items such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken, beef tendon and pork belly which is ordered off the menu.

3. Pick from a huge assortment of 15 house made sauces such as black-bean sauce, garlic chili sauce, Taiwanese seaweed sauce and who knows what else. Now head back to your table.
4. Add the ingredients to the soup stock and cook as per your liking. Use the scoop to move them to your bowl together with broth. Add sauce, and your first fabulous bowl is ready to consume.
5. You have a 90 minute time limit. After 60 minutes, they serve the shaved ice dessert below.
 The veg fridge bank.

The dim sum and dumpling fridge bank. 

More dim sum, dumplings, shellfish, etc. 

Root veg, dumplings, etc.

The utensils and divided stock pot with my 2 different soups and items selected and added, cooking. One stock I ordered was a fish based sour cabbage stock flavoured with tamarind, lemon grass and Chinese cabbage. The other stock I ordered was the "house special: fish based stock flavoured with Chinese parsley, star anise, bay leaf and orange peel.

Shave ice dessert topped with coffee panna cotta, bright strawberry and mango jellies, tapioca balls, coffee panna cotta and dollops of soft, house made almond tofu.


Burmese salad with green papaya, cherry tomatoes, fried garlic, peanuts, sprouting seeds, preserved lemon, serrano pepper, all topped with grilled Kauai shrimp and all dressed with fermented lahpet dressing.

The number 2 great dish of the night, poached duck pho with hand cut rice noodles all in an aromatic spiced broth with ginger, sawtooth herb and scallions. An added option of egg yolk confit was available.

Very good nori chips topped with asparagus namul, smoked trout roe, creme fraiche, pickled fresno and shiso leaves.

A perfectly cooked whole branzino with smashed cucumber marinated with lemon grass and pepperoncini, dill and shallots.

Slow braised octopus in a sausage of pork, lemon grass, wild betel leaf and ginger doused in a sauce of fermented shrimp, pineapple and sambal, topped with an herb salad with fried garlic and shallot. This was the number one dish of the night, a great range of interesting and very complementary flavours and textures.

Mango sorbet.

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