I’ve enjoyed omakase in Tokyo, Hawaii, and New York City, arguably, three of the best places on Earth to enjoy sushi. Dining at Sushi Ginza Onodera ranks up there with my experience eating at the small sushi restaurants in Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Market and at Daisuke Nakazawa’s (a former apprentice at Sukiyabashi Jiro) namesake restaurant, Sushi Nakazawa, in New York City’s West Village. Simply put, Sushi Ginza Onodera is the most authentic sushi experience in Hawaii. It’s almost as if you’re in Tokyo. Almost.
At Sushi Ginza Onodera you have two options: the Omakase Menu 1 priced at $200, and Omakase Menu 2 priced at $250. The $50 difference boiled down to the inclusion of two courses: the otoro sashimi and the Miyazaki beef nigiri.
Once you step inside of Sushi Ginza Onodera, you’ll quickly notice the contemporary Japanese interior.
Sushi Chef Tomoharu-san would provide us with an intimate omakase experience. Both the service and setting was impeccable.
We learned that Chef Tomoharu-san trained in Japan and also worked at the Sushi Ginza Onodera in Tokyo before moving to Hawaii.
We were served a savory spinach appetizer within a few minutes of being seated.
A fresh piece of Spanish mackerel from Chiba, Tokyo.
Katsuo/Bonito from Kawashima, Japan.
Chef Tomoharu slicing 5-year-old Abalone from Kona, Hawaii.
A large piece of fatty tuna direct from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan. When I asked Tomoharu-san how much that piece cost, he paused, then smiled, and finally said “very, very expensive.” And by very, very expensive he means many thousands of dollars.
My slice of otoro from that large chunk seen above. So delicate, so soft, so enjoyable. These two pieces of otoro sashimi were one of the two dishes that differentiated the two omakase price points (the Miyazaki beef nigiri seen later was the other). A $25 dish, so chew slowly and enjoy.
A piece of managatsuo (silver pomfret) with miso and grated daikon.
Inside of this chawanmushi was fresh scallops from the northern regions of Hokkaido, Japan.
Kinmedai or golden eye snapper, a common addition to many omakase.
Some snapper to follow the golden eye snapper.
Ocean trout from Hokkaido.
The octopus was delicious, but not as memorable as the octopus I experienced at 15 East in New York City.
Kohada (gizzard shad) marinated with vinegar and topped with shrimp.
The ahi (tuna) fatty trifecta began with a piece of akami nigiri.
The akami was followed by a glorious piece chutoro nigiri…
…and the chutoro was followed by a piece of otoro that tickled my tongue so hard that I silently begged for me. Then again, when it comes to otoro, I always silently beg for more.
There are uni people in this world and there are those who despise the sea creature. If you fall in the latter group, then we can’t be friends. Just kidding. We can still be friends…I’ll just eat all of your uni. This uni was flown in from Hokkaido, Japan.
This piece of Miyazaki beef nigiri was the second dish that differentiated the two omakase price points. A $25 bite right here, so, once again, chew slowly and enjoy. Did I mention that it was amazing? It was amazing.
Most traditional omakase will include tamago, a type of Japanese block omelet. At Sushi Ginza Onodera, the evening’s tamago was infused with shrimp.
Some of the best (possibly the best) anago that i’ve eaten was on Miyajima Island, while visiting the Itsukushima Shrine. This anago nigiri was delicious, too.
Some torotaku maki. Key word: toro.
In traditional Japanese meals, the miso soup comes toward the end of the meal.
And to conclude the evening, a serving of brown sugar ice cream, with a single lit candle on top.
Before leaving, Onodera presented me with a gift. I can always use a spare pair of hashi. Thank you Chef Tomoharu-san for the amazing experience!
Sushi Ginza Onodera
808 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816