05 January 2010

Ichiriki in Honolulu, HI

My cousin works here and my mom has been talking it up forever. We finally had a chance to go with the weather cooling down a bit. The reason we wanted to go when it is cold is so that we could have their hot pot/nabe in relative comfort. It was very good, if a little expensive.

First off, if you can, make reservations. My mom had made reservations for 7:30 on a Saturday. Good thing because there was a small group waiting outside when we got there and another small group that was told they could expect to get a table around 10. (But then when we left, maybe around 9:30, there were several tables available...)

Second point is that the place is well-decorated. The right side is sort of like Japanese style, where you're sitting at low tables. Instead of having to sit on your knees though, there's room under the table so that it is the same as sitting on a chair. Probably awkward to get in and out in a skirt though. The place just looks nice, has that Japanese ambiance, simple, kind of rustic.

The prices are about $20-$25 per person. If you go after 9:30 though, it is only about $11. (You don't get EVERYTHING you do at the $20 rate, but you get most of it I think.) They have three basic broths: shio (salt), shoyu, and miso. Then there are different variations. I was mostly interested in the spicy versions (spicy shio, spicy shoyu, kim chee miso) and the ginger one which is advertised as being good if you are coming down with a cold. I ordered the spicy shoyu and also tried a little of Kea's kim chee miso and my dad's ginger. I liked all of them but may go with the ginger next time. (I'm a big fan of ginger.)

Depending on which broth you order, you get an assortment of raw meat and veggies to cook in the broth. Everyone got tsukune, a chicken and pork sausage. It comes in bamboo and you have a tool to separate it into meatballs and push it into your broth. My spicy shoyu broth really brought out the sesame oil flavor in the tsukune. The different sets came with ingredients like pork, arabiki, another sausage, chicken, scallop, shrimp, salmon, aburage, shiitake, enoki mushrooms, head cabbage, won bok, arrowroot noodles (kind of like konnyaku) and bean sprouts.

Some members of our party were a little nervous about cooking and eating with the same utensil, especially with the tsukune and other raw pork and chicken, but you know this restaurant would get sued so fast if they had problems. Plus Alton Brown said no one in the U.S. has gotten trichonosis in like 50 years or something. I tend not to worry about those kinds of things although I know some of my friends would not like it. You can probably ask for an extra set of chopsticks if you like.

Overall, it was a really great experience. I think interactive eating is always fun. Some kinds of cook-your-own restaurants can be stressful I think (like yakiniku where one or two people seem to end up in charge of cooking) but I found this one to be low stress.


At 5:37 PM , Blogger kristen said...

ooh this sounds so yummy! its the kine where you have the griddle thing in the middle?

At 5:42 PM , Blogger Robyn said...

yes yes, they bring a hot plate/burner thing to the table. we should go next time you are home in the "winter."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home