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February 8, 2009

Last weekend we decided to eat out as a family, and venture into the realm of Japanese cuisine, which, oddly enough, we had not yet done. Our reluctance to sample the local washoku is due in part to Mizuho’s innate bias against Hawaiian Japanese. Many a time has she complained that “there is no good Japanese food in Hawaii.” Given how little of it we have tried, that is a pretty bold claim.

The target was Tokkuri Tei, on Kapahulu, an izakaya with something of a local reputation and history. Unfortunately logistics were not on our side, and we arrived too  early and too late to get a non-reserved table (they accept reservations up until 7). We did, however, get the valet parking (tiny lot, very stupid, park in the street if you go), and the valet dude recommended we see if Irifune had any tables, since it is just a block away.

We did, they did, at Irifune we dined. Not such a big fan of the breaded tofu, but the garlic crab was savory, and the oyako-don we got for the kids was very well done. Interior is quirky, but comfortable, and the place attracts large groups and families, which makes for a warm, lively atmosphere.

Best of all, it passed the Mizuho test (though it was a stretch to find items that would meet the strict requirements of her rampant vegetarianism). I don’t think we’ll be hearing any more of those woeful complaints about the lack of satisfying Japanese restaurants on the island.

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