Monday, July 16, 2012

Tokkuri-Tei Honolulu

"Go where the locals go."  Always a good motto when it comes to food. 

Tokkuri-Tei was introduced to me by a friend in Hawaii who has the nickname of "The Govenor."  He earned this nickname by knowing everyone on Oahu.  He has gotten to know people across many layers of the social fabric through going to the right private shools, working as a vallet, surfing, playing golf at the country club and underground poker.  He is connected with every type of diverse social group one can imagine.  It's because of this unique blend that he often knows of the best spots.  Tokkuri-Tei is one of them.

For those of you that like to feel exotic because you've tried a caterpillar role, and brag to your friends that you "love sushi" this place may be just a little much for you (although it's almost a disappoint to admit there is the obligatory caterpillar role on the menu).  This is a Japanese restaurant that has so much more to offer than just sushi, and their sushi is good.  They have award winning Poke, Deep Fried just about anything you can imagine-go with the squid legs, Rice and Noodle dishes, Skewered Meats-with things like skewered chicken gizzard, and so on.

Now the menu at this restaurant is 14 pages.  I'm going to tell you two things you must order that you probably wouldn't.  1) Tan Shio.  It is a Kushi Yaki (grilled, skewered meat on a stick) dish that is comprised of cow tongue.  Trust me.  2)  Bintoro Ponzu.  Bintoro is albacore tuna that has a soft, buttery and flaky flesh.  The tuna is quickly grilled to cook the surface and then immediately put in cold water to tighten the flesh.  They then pour ponzu sauce all over the fish and garnish it with sprouts that soak up that ponzu sauce.  Honestly, I can eat 3 of these dishes by myself.  You'll be tempted to get the Ponzu Salmon, but go with the Bintoro Ponzu...so good.

Tokkuri-Tei has dropped a few points since they moved.  They used to be located in a strip mall with a low ceiling and wall to wall Japanese decorations and patron signatures.  I've previously admitted my weakness to restaurants in strip malls.  They've since moved to a large restaurant by the Honolulu Zoo off Kapahulu Avenue.  I don't know, it almost feels like it's "gone corporate."  Still though, I would go there just to eat the two dishes I recommened.

Entrees are about $8-15.  Take as many people as you can and order as much as you can to share.

Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Food: 10/10

Link to restaurant website

Tokkuri-Tei on Urbanspoon

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