Sushi Sasabune: A Multi-Sushi-Foodgasm

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 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 ┬ála carte. From the restaurant’s perspective, a large number of customers ordering omakase can help in planning for food costs.” Via Wikipedia.

Bluefin Ootoro and Albacore Tuna Sashimi. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Young squid stuffed with blue crab. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Toro (Fatty Tuna). Photo by Coty Gonzales.

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:

  1. Bluefin Ootoro and Albacore Tuna Sashimi
  2. Young squid stuffed with blue crab
  3. Toro (Fatty Tuna)
  4. Snapper and Halibut
  5. Hamachi
  6. Alaskan King Salmon Ikura/ New Zealand and scallop
  7. Raw Washington Oyster with Ponzu Sauce, Raw Seattle Oyster with with Alaskan Fish Egg, Baked Washington Oyster
  8. Mackerel and prawn
  9. Amberjack and Alaskan Snow Crab
  10. Negitoro
  11. Semi-baked South African Rock Lobster
  12. Unagi (Eel) on top of Egg
  13. Blue Crab Handroll
  14. 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.

Snapper and Halibut. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Hamachi. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Alaskan King Salmon Ikura/ New Zealand and scallop. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

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

Raw Washington Oyster with Ponzu Sauce, Raw Seattle Oyster with with Alaskan Fish Eggs, Baked Washington Oyster. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Mackerel and prawn. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Semi-baked South African Rock Lobster Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Unagi (Eel) on top of Egg. Photo by Coty Gonzales.


Sushi Sasabune
1417 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 947-3800

Mon-Sat 5:30 pm – 10 pm
Tue-Fri 12 pm – 2 pm

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii. Adventure, Minimalism, Vinyl, Typography, and Coffee + Matcha. A single space after a period, please.


  1. Thanks for the outstanding restaurant review. I have lived in Japan for a while but had never tried omakase. Over there, I ate at the same sushi bar in Yokosuka for 3 years. Ever since then, I’ve been keeping an eye out for a sushi place that was on par with what I was used to.

    I tried Kuru Kurus and they were okay but went down pretty quick. I ended up getting sick twice and then haven’t eaten there since. Now I eat mostly at Ninja Sushi which is no where near as good as the place in Yokosuka. lol =p

    From your photos, this place seems extraordinary. I do love tuna…especially the ones that melt in your mouth. So good. I’m rarely in Honolulu but perhaps I will try omakase and give this restaurant a try. (:

  2. Glad you enjoyed the post, Punynari! i’ve only had omakase one other time, at Morimoto’s in Philadelphia. Morimoto’s as in Chef Morimoto from Iron Chef! It was good but not as good as Sushi Sasabuni. Maybe you’ll get to bring your new fiance there one of these days!

    As far as rotating sushi belt places, I actually like Kuru Kuru. I think they’re better than Genki! For ahi/spicy ahi bowls you should check out Paina Cafe on Ward. Very good!

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