Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Experience the divine at Restaurant Wada

Nadine Kam photos
Washugyu tataki topped with sea urchin is one of the many wonders on the menu at Wada.

Once the domain of the AARP set, a new generation of the underemployed and the single is discovering the beauty of happy hour, where diners can indulge at reduced prices.

Restaurant Wada’s recent launch of a happy hour menu provided a welcome excuse to revisit this gem, known for serving some of the most decadent sushi in town, as well as beef tongue in multiple forms.

The restaurant showcases the work of Takanori Wada, a Hokkaido native who worked at Sushi Yasuda in New York City, before opening his restaurant here.

Restaurant Wada is at 611 Kapahulu Ave. Call (808) 737-0125. Happy hour starts at 4 p.m. and runs through 6 p.m., and again from 9 to 11 p.m. for late-nighters Tuesdays through Sundays. Select dishes run $3 and $5, and select sushi is $2.50 per piece. Select handroll or roll sushi is $3.75, and Kirin draft, hot or cold sake, shochu, pinot grigio, chardonnay, pinot noir and merlot selections are offered at $3.

 Washugyu tataki in garlic ponzu.

Sea bass sashimi.

There’s tender tako underneath the layer of greens and salmon roe.

If you’re in an indulgent mood, try the tuna akami topped with foie gras, at $9.50 per piece.

As decadent as some of the sushi is, I also loved the simplicity of agedashi tofu, just $3 during happy hour.

Crispy mochi sticks ($7.75) are light spring rolls with a center of mozzarella and mentai cod roe wrapped in thin, crisp rice paper. It is $5 during happy hour.

Beyond happy hour, washugyu tongue is the centerpiece of an ishiyaki meal, at $47 for 8 slices of the Oregon black angus, or $62 for 16 slices. The tongue is cooked at the table, at 10 seconds on one side before being flipped over and cooked through. It’s accompanied by a light lemony ponzu sauce, pepper and garlic salt. The second part of this meal is a stir fry of harumi, or skirt steak, and onions with shishito peppers. Please see video below.

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More sushi decadence, uni and ikura.

Flash-fried skate fin was a recent daily special, served with lemony aioli.

This grilled eggplant was more like an Italian casserole with mild tomato sauce and golden mozzarella. This dish puts many a local Italian restaurant to shame.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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