Sushi! I love sushi. I recently had an amazingly unforgettable sushi experience and I simply had to share. That, and the chance of forcing all of you hungry Exploration: Hawaii readers to drool at the photos, was too good to pass up.
Sushi Sasabune is a nondescript little restaurant located South King Street. This sushi establishment is known for its omakase, which means that your taste buds are completely in the hands of the sushi chef.
“The expression [omakase] is used at sushi restaurants to leave the selection to the chef. It differs from ordering à la carte. The chef will generally present a series of plates, beginning with the lightest fare and proceeding to heaviest, richest dishes. The phrase is not exclusive to service of raw fish with rice, and can incorporate grilling and simmering as well. Customers ordering omakase style expect the chef to be innovative and surprising in the selection of dishes, and the meal can be likened to an artistic performance by the chef. Ordering omakase can be a gamble; however, the customer typically receives the highest quality fish the restaurant currently has in stock at a price cheaper than if it was ordered à la carte. From the restaurant’s perspective, a large number of customers ordering omakase can help in planning for food costs.” Via Wikipedia.
Many say that ordering omakase can be a gamble since you don’t get to choose what you eat. This, is definitely not true of Sushi Sasbune. Each dish was masterfully prepared, featuring only the most fresh and highest quality fish. Upon serving, the sushi chef would tell you exactly how to eat the dish. No shoyu. A little bit of wasabi. Eat in one bite please. Please, a little shoyu.
They seem pushy at first, and truthfully, I was a little skeptical. However, I did trust them. I followed their orders precisely and I am so glad that I did. The fish melted in my mouth and more importantly, the intricate flavors popped.
Here’s a list of dishes that came with our omakase:
- Bluefin Ootoro and Albacore Tuna Sashimi
- Young squid stuffed with blue crab
- Toro (Fatty Tuna)
- Snapper and Halibut
- Alaskan King Salmon Ikura/ New Zealand and scallop
- Raw Washington Oyster with Ponzu Sauce, Raw Seattle Oyster with with Alaskan Fish Egg, Baked Washington Oyster
- Mackerel and prawn
- Amberjack and Alaskan Snow Crab
- Semi-baked South African Rock Lobster
- Unagi (Eel) on top of Egg
- Blue Crab Handroll
- Red Bean Ice Cream
Each of the dishes were superb. Each time I finished a dish, I wanted more. The highlights for me had to be the bluefin and albacore sashimi, stuffed squid, toro, and hamachi. In fact, that toro, or fatty tuna, was the best fatty tuna that I’ve ever had. It simply melted in my mouth. With each bite my eyes opened wider and wider. It was so hard to savor, but I did. I savored each bite and then I dreamt about the toro as each new dish was being served.
The oysters were good, too. However, it’s hard for me to compare oysters when I’ve tasted the best. If I had to pick a least favorite dish, I’d have to say that the rock lobster was the weakest of the bunch. Some parts of it were cooked, while other parts were undercooked. It didn’t show refinement like the fresh fish dishes.
So, I’ve tickled your sushi fancy and now you want a taste of Sushi Sasabune. Some things to keep in mind. First, it’s a good idea to make reservations. The establishment is very small and the sushi bar, designed for those wanting to order the omakse, only seats 13 people (+/- 2). They do have tables, but you will not be able to order everything, meaning, all the good stuff is left for those daring enough to try the omakase. Secondly, be open minded and let you taste buds explore. You will not be allowed to choose anything other than drinks and desert. The main dishes are left up to the sushi chef. Finally, come prepared to spend a lot of dough. If going the omakase route, expect to spend roughly $150 per person. This does not include the price of drinks.
Sushi Sasabune was such an amazing experience. I love fancy fine dining experiences as much as you other food snobs out there, however, I’m very happy that we forgoed the romance of Waikiki for a more gritty sushi experience. Thank you, Michelle, for the awesome birthday dinner. I think you might have topped La Mer.
Foodies: Coty Gonzales and Michelle Sagucio
Exploration Hawaii Rating: 5/5
1417 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96814
Mon-Sat 5:30 pm – 10 pm
Tue-Fri 12 pm – 2 pm