An upbeat, fun atmosphere at Shokudo
Friday - June 08, 2007
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Freshly made tofu ($6.95) comes with nori, salt, green onion and Shokudo
Finding somewhere to eat Japanese food in Honolulu is as easy as finding a hot dog at the ballpark. And perhaps because of that, Japanese food, Hawaii-style, comes in numerous forms.
Shokudo blends a menu of fairly traditional dishes like Chanko Nabe,Agedashi Tofu and sushi,with dishes designed to appeal to the local palate: Oxtail Ramen ($8.95), Pork Cutlet Curry ($9.95) and Sukiyaki Beef Bibimbap ($9.95) are just a few of the dishes on the restaurant’s eclectic menu. Add a lively atmosphere, state-of-theart décor by one of Japan’s most-respected designers, and a staff that loves to come to work, and you’ve an idea of the restaurant’s appeal.
“It’s pretty upbeat!” says manager Geraldine Jordan.
Diners at Shokudo are as diverse as the menu items, and the ambience of the restaurant changes throughout the day.
“In the morning and for late lunch we see pretty much an older crowd, and a good section of the business community,” says Geraldine, “along with some tourists. Then early evening we see a lot of families who dine with their kids. As the evening gets later, we see young people who come late at night to eat.”
Operations manager Samson Eligio says that the upbeat, fun atmosphere is something the management team wanted right from the start. Eligio’s originally from Guam, and he first met up with Shokudo owners when he was working at TGIF’s Guam location.
“The idea behind Shokudo was originally to have a place where people could enjoy Japanese food, but with the same kind of fun atmosphere as restaurants like TGIF,” he says.
Takaaki Fujii, Kellyn Higa, Justin Mizufuka, Geraldine Jordan and Samson Eligio at Shokudo
New menu items this month include Spicy Tuna Summer Roll ($8.95), and a Tuna Tataki Salad ($12.95), which offers generous helpings of sliced, seared tuna over greens.
“Our seasonal menus are a great way of finding out which dishes are going to be big enough sellers to make it to the main menu,” says Eligio.
One that might be headed that way is the Sushi Pizza ($13.95). Slightly crisped rice is topped with an assortment of seafood and jalapeno peppers (think flat California roll without the nori), making it one of those “I’ll-just-have-one-more-bite” entrees.
Go for the Unagi Rice, if like me you’re a fan of lightly grilled eel with its accompanying teriyaki-like sauce. At $9.95, Shokudo’s Unagi Rice is enough to feed several people, and it comes in one of the restaurant’s trademark hot stone bowls.
“The ishiyaki entrees are something that almost everyone loves,” says manager Justin Mizufuka.“The dishes all come with rice, and they’re mixed by servers at the table so you get crisp, slightly browned fried rice on the bottom of the bowl mixed into the rest of the dish.”
Eating family-style here can turn into a fun experience, and because portion sizes are on the large side, you can share fewer entrees than at other, pricier restaurants.
“Most people want to eat family-style, ” says manager Kellyn Higa,“and because the dishes are so attractive and colorful, it makes it fun for them to share.”
If you’re eating Japanese food to keep it on the light and healthy side, you might want to avoid the restaurant’s signature dessert - mammoth honey toasts, where 3-inch-thick slices of fresh, white bread are hollowed out and filled with ice cream and drizzled with honey and flavorings. Or if you do decide to take the plunge,make sure you do it Shokudo style - and share.
Shokudo Ala Moana Pacific Center, Ground Floor,1585 Kapiolani Blvd.
Validated parking entrance on Kona Street, behind the restaurant.
Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.; last call at midnight
Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.; last call at 1:00 a.m., 941-3701. Reservations not required, but recommended.
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