June 27, 2011
1417 S King St Honolulu, HI 96814
Tonight was a special dinner to celebrate my birthday. My wife was so kind to offer to treat me to dinner at Sushi Sasabune. I’ve dined at Sasabune once in the past more than 5 years ago, and remembered it to be one of the best sushi experiences I ever had in Hawaii. Years later Sasabune still has a great reputation for excellent sushi, so I looked forward to tonight’s meal with great anticipation.
Naturally we reserved seating at the sushi bar to enjoy the “omakase” menu from the chef. I’ve heard complaints that the omakase menu, which is supposed to feature the best “chef’s choice” ingredients of the day, doesn’t really change very much. I noted the observation of others but realistically I hadn’t been here in so long that my experience was going to be fairly unique.
And so we sat down at the bar and trusted the chef’s behind the bar to produce their best. The normal omakase runs 13 courses (if you go to the end, you can stop anytime) but since we are leaving the island soon I pushed for an additional few on the end to make the most of this sushi experience. Here is a very image heavy post of what we had tonight (there were two courses I forgot to take a photo of, and for that I apologize):
4th Course – Flounder (halibut) and seared golden eye snapper: The halibut was very clean and fresh tasting with a hint of spice. The golden eye snapper caught me by surprise with a nice, heavy flavor that was very fresh.
7th Course – Seattle Kushi oyster, Oyster topped with marinated ikura, baked Boston oyster: All three oysters tasted very fresh and had that great “ocean” taste to them. I enjoyed the marinated ikura and the baked oyster very much.
8th Course – Local moi, Canada spot prawn: The moi was something I haven’t had before in sushi form. A semi-fatty fish with very subtle flavor. The spot prawn was delicious, so wonderfully sweet and tender. A squeeze of lemon juice gave a slight citrus tang to counteract the sweet prawn.
9th Course – Snow crab with kani miso, amberjack: I’m a sucker for amberjack so I really enjoyed this piece of sushi. Very fatty and tender in texture. The snow crab had a very sweet flavor balanced nicely by the slightly salty miso.
10th Course – Negitoro – Sasabune’s signature dish: This negitoro is interesting in that it holds its shape even in nigiri form. The toro is very soft, oily, and buttery in your mouth. All the great flavors of fresh fish come out in this “signature” dish.
Tonight’s omakase experience at Sasabune was every bit as delicious as I remember from the last time I came here years ago. The fish and seafood selections were all very fresh and delicious. A few standouts for me were the sashimi course (1st), seared golden eye snapper (4th), New Zealand King Salmon w/ kelp (6th), baked Boston oyster & oyster with ikura (7th), Canada spot prawn (8th), South African Rock Lobster (11th) and the uni (14th).
All-in-all an excellent birthday meal and a wonderful experience. Some people might be put off by the chef’s request to eat certain courses in a certain way, such as “in one bite” or “no soy sauce”. But at this level of sushi, you should expect that sitting at the bar for omakase comes with certain expectations of the customer as well as the chef. At Sasabune, diners at the sushi bar are asked to “trust” the chef. As long as he keeps putting out sushi with this quality and flavor, I have no problems eating whatever he serves up on my plate.
Tagged with: Hawaii • Honolulu • Japanese • Omakase • Sasabune • Sushi