A few weeks ago, The Modern Honolulu announced that Masaharu Morimoto would be closing Morimoto after six years at The Modern. The restaurant will officially close its doors on December 8. I’ve frequented the restaurant regularly during their six-year run, often running into the “Iron Chef” himself. Of course, I had to visit once more before they closed.
Chef Masaharu Morimoto is one of my favorite Iron Chefs. When Coty and I were in Philadelphia several years ago, I was excited to make reservations at his namesake restaurant there. I remember the cool lighting in the booths that changed colors. I was even more excited when I first found out that he was opening a restaurant in Waikiki.
My quest for great sushi continued with a recent trip to Sushi ii, an unassuming little restaurant in the Samsung Plaza on Keeaumoku Street. Honolulu Magazine recently listed it as the best modern sushi bar in Hawaii. The restaurant even has a fancy 4.5 star rating on Yelp. Unfortunately, my experience at Sushi ii (pronounced “ee,” meaning “good” in Japanese) did not match the aforementioned glowing reviews. I was a bit, disappointed.
I tend to plan trips around places to eat. I try to eat good when I travel by becoming immersed in the food culture of whatever city I’m in. Through the years, I’ve learned that it’s best to forego fast and easy as an excuse to eat when wandering through an unfamiliar city. Knowing how something tastes and what to expect from each bite should not be a pre-requisite for any meal that you eat when traveling. Instead, eat good by finding what the locals eat and then seeking it out. Eat good by trying something new and exciting, and maybe a little scary. Eat good by devouring something that your taste buds have never tasted. Eat good by finding adventure in the food that you eat.
I’m spoiled when it comes to the luxuries of fine sushi. It wasn’t always this way, though. A decade ago, the closest thing to adventurous that I would get in a sushi bar (and I use the term sushi bar loosely here to mean rotating belt-type establishments like Genki Sushi ) was ordering a crab mayo roll.
Last month, we celebrated Joel’s birthday by dining at my favorite sushi restaurant on the island, Sushi Sasabune. As per our birthday celebration tradition, the birthday boy got to choose, and he chose well. Of course, we did the omakase, there’s no better way to do Sasabune other than to sit at the sushi bar and wait in anticipation for whatever it is that the sushi chef will present next.
My first Honolulu Festival was in 2012. I missed the 2013 festivities, but I made it back for 20th annual Honolulu Festival. Since I was away on business travel earlier in the week, I could only attend the final day of scheduled events. The Hawaii Convention Center was once again home to various arts & crafts, performances, and even an anime cafe. There was a lot to see and learn at this year’s festival. Within a few minutes of entering the convention center hall, we were pulled into a table to draw fruit using traditional Japanese brushes and paints. My painting of a mango is miserable. The lady teaching me thought I did a good job, though. I think that she was just being nice.