Hakone Restaurant at Hawaii Prince for Authentic Japanese Cuisine in Hawaii

There are many restaurants in Hawaii that serve Japanese food and many of them are very good. The young people of Hawaii who seem to be influencing the food trends these days seem to go for three types of Japanese restaurants. They tend to go for the restaurants that offer teishoku (complete meals), buffet or the izakaya style (appetizers and drinks). Many of the new places are very creative and blend the tastes of Japan with other countries, an East meets West creation. I think that all of these restaurants with creative menus are fun. It makes it very difficult to choose a place when dining out.
Having lived in Japan as a child and adult there are times that I miss the flavors of authentic Japanese food, the taste of Japanese white rice and fresh sushi. The key word being "authentic" I must say that the Hakone Restaurant at the Hawaii Prince Hotel in Honolulu is as authentic as you will ever get in Hawaii.

The Sushi Buffet on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 5:30-9:30 p.m. is a smorgasbord of all the Japanese delicacies that you have ever dreamed of at one sitting. The price is $44.00 per person. I know there are some who might say that it is on the high side but when you consider the quality and quantity of food that is served, I consider the meal to have value. The best part of the buffet is the all-you-can-eat sushi.

Chef Shimoyama who has been the chef at Hakone since its opening makes the sushi for you. I have tried uni (sea urchin) at other popular sushi bars in town but this is the best. It is sweet and fresh and melts in your mouth. And the rice or "shari" is perfect. Delicious, not too sticky and not too much. You can order the many authentic types of sushi such as tuna, squid and shrimp. And then there's the roll sushi such as negitoro and California maki. You can actually get full just on the sushi...but that is just the beginning. I encourage you to take a thorough glance once around at all the dishes laid out on the buffet table before you start eating so that you can have a game plan. Some of the eye openers include the crab, tempura, steak and sashimi. Then there is the area of Japanese pickles, nimono (stewed items), appetizers, salads and fried foods.

Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu are also popular items on the buffet. What is very nice is that there are trays, large plates, small plates and bowls to be used for each different dish.

And once you are finished with a dish, the wonderful waitresses are there to clean your table so that you can go up for your next helping. I think the key is to take your time, take only what you can eat and enjoy each dish. And everything tastes better with their draft beer, Kirin Nama!

Chef Shimoyama and Hakone Restaurant have been participating in Honolulu Festival's Friendship Gala for years now. It's a treat to be able to eat his authentic dishes at the gala once a year but that is not enough. I encourage you to taste his Sushi Buffet at Hakone Restaurant the next time you are seriously ono for authentic Japanese food.

Delicious desserts

Pickles and side dishes

Pickles, mozuku and crab

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