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July 26, 2009

I’m brimming with chagrin over not bringing a camera to Miyabi, a newish izakaya on Kapahulu, very close to Safeway (we parked there, though you can apparently use the Go Bannanas parking). The ambiance was simple, stylish and much more of a wa-fu vibe than the usual Hawaiianese compromise (though dimming the lights and turning down the music a couple notches would be recommended). The food definitely matched the atmosphere. Far and away the best and most authentic Japanese meal I’ve had on the island. We started with a tofu-tomato salad, and the tofu was quality – not the blobby, gelatinous supermarket variety. Nicely textured, and topped with a noteworthy dressing. It helped that the greens were very fresh and truly mixed – often a problem on this island. Around the same time some fried potato for the kids came out. Thick, chunky, well-salted – even though we had ordered them for the kids, I couldn’t help filching a few. Everything else was equally impressive, from the hokke to the sushi. Great sushi, actually. I tried a maguro just to see, and both fish and rice were exquisite. We also had some kind of shrimp/crab roll with a fanciful name that I forget, but I’d rate it up there with some of the better makis I’ve had in Japan. All of this was paired with Tomino Hozan shochu, which I had never tried before. I’m typically a fan of those pungent, earthy imos, but was won over by the subtle balance of this one. The only mild disappointment was the tskune, which seemed a little undercooked – I tend to like it more tightly packed and yakied. Couldn’t really argue with the flavor, though. And the meat was less gristly than you tend to find in Japan. Miyabi is a little pricey, so not likely to be a weekly affair, but the quality is easily worth the hit to the wallet.

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