Monday, December 8, 2014

Agu — A Ramen Bistro celebrates one-year anniversary

Nadine Kam photos
Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara shows the Okinawan rafute that was on the menu celebrating AGU’s one-year anniversary.

Agu — A Ramen Bistro celebrated its first anniversary over two days, Dec. 5 and 6, with a glass of champagne to toast the restaurant, and a trio of complimentary appetizers to start meals.

The event started Okinawa shisa (lion-dog) dance, plus music and dance by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii.

The complimentary appetizers included Jidori chicken liver pate, a collaboration between Agu chef Hisashi Uehara and Thomas Jones, president of Agu’s parent company, Gyotaku Japanese Restaurants.

Jidori chicken liver påté, topped with a layer of lard to preserve moisture.

Next came Okinawan rafute, nine-hour stewed pork belly with brown sugar, and AGUcini, Uehara’s interpretation of the arancini, with rice and components of the restaurant’s signature “Innovative Hot Mess” rolled in panko and deep-fried.

The brown sugar-sweetened rafute.

The Innovative Hot Mess ramen was my pick for favorite food of the year in the Star-Advertiser and Diamond Head Theatre’s Ilima Awards because of the audacity of the decadent creation incorporating pork, se-abura (rendered pork back fat), fresh garlic, black garlic oil, garlic butter, Parmesan cheese, and more. The AGUcini was made a bit healthier with a persimmon salsa.

The AGUcini, served with persimmon salsa, combined some of chef Uehara’s favorite ingredients: rice, pork and Parmesan cheese.

I usually gravitate to heavier tonkotsu ramen, but given the heft of the complimentary appetizers, on this night sought out the lighter Jidori yuzu ramen.

Agu proved popular from Day 1, and coming in early 2015 will be a second location, in Waipahu. Uehara explained they needed a central kitchen big enough to keep up with the demand of making his various, laborious 18-hour ramen broths. In the restaurant’s earliest days, we could not always count on getting the ramen we wanted because if he wasn’t satisfied with the broth, he wouldn’t serve it.

A third location is also in the works.
Agu — A Ramen Bistro is at 925 Isenberg St. (in front of the Saint Louis Alumni Clubhouse). Call (808) 492-1637.

Non-flash video

No comments:

Post a Comment