My recent travels to Okinawa, Japan has got me craving authentic Japanese food on the daily. I mean, I’ve always loved Japanese cuisine, but when you travel and consume the real deal, it’s hard to go back to your usual spots and experience authenticity.
I spent Galentine’s Day with my dear friend Lola. She’s fluent in Japanese, is of Japanese descent, has relatives that live in Japan, and travels to Japan often. So when she tells me about one of her favorite spots, here in Honolulu for Japanese food, of course I’m gonna tell her to take me there! This is Izakaya UOSAN.
Located in the heart of Honolulu, on Kapiolani boulevard. This sort of hole in the wall is small, reservations recommended, and is truly a must if your craving amazing Japanese food and ambiance. And when I say ambiance, I mean, most of the customers and workers are Japanese. I barely heard a drop of english spoken while we were there. Our waiter was Portuguese, but was very fluent in Japanese language. The service was excellent and the food was amazing!
For starters we ordered bacon wrapped veggies. Small pieces of zucchini and asparagus wrapped in bacon, skewered and fried to perfection with some panko. A side of hot mustard and katsu sauce to dip them in. The perfect compliment to the start of sake drinking, unfamiliar food, and hilarious moments!
I loved how the “specials” menu was hand written in Japanese.
Izakaya (meaning) is similar to a “gastropub”, but more like a sake bar that commonly serves small bites of food, or like we call it here in Hawaii, pupus. Lola and I sat at the sushi bar, as I wanted to watch the magic happen. I wanted to see my food being prepared right in front of my eyes. I’m so thankful that Lola is fluent in Japanese, she was able to converse with our sushi chef for amazing recommendations as you see here.
Otoro a high grade marbled fatty piece of meat that comes from the belly of the blue fin tuna. Seriously melts in your mouth! The shrimp you see here was excellently prepared and just as tasty.
Uni or urchin roe, an acquired taste, but I absolutely love it!
Now this right here, don’t knock it till you try it! I almost didn’t try it because of what it IS, but I made an effort to at least try. And you know what, I actually liked it. Literally melts in your mouth. Guys this is cod sperm sac, or as in the Japanese language, Shirako. Prepared raw, with a yuzu soy sauce. If raw isn’t your thing, they offer it grilled as well. I’d definitely order this again!
This last piece of heaven was a special one. Lola wanted one more item to eat before ending the night, but didn’t know what to order. So she asked our waiter what he’d suggest. Guys this one is “off the menu”. This piece of heavenly sushi is made with I believe, chutoro (one grade below otoro) that’s minced and mixed with diced pickled daikon, over a shiso leaf and of course, rice. Serious umami action going on here. The fish melts in your mouth, the crunch from the daikon, and the earthy shiso leaf. My mouth is watering as I write this. It’s that good people!!!
All sushi were finished off with a special yuzu soy sauce.
It really didn’t need anything else.
We can’t forget about dessert now can we? Yuzu sorbet. The most refreshing bite to cleanse the pallet and finish off the night. Oh and some warm green tea (not pictured). This dining experience was truly AMAZING! I highly recommend coming here for a fabulous UMAMI experience.
1221 Kapiolani Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
Ph: (808) 200-5077
Hours: Closed on MONDAY || Tuesday – Sunday 5:30pm-11pm
Street parking on Kapiolani or in the building parking structure. *Note: If you’re parking in the structure, parking is free after 10pm.*