Before I left for my spring trip to Hong Kong and Japan, my friend and I met at Ala Moana shopping center to pick up some trip supplies. I had never been to Rokakku for lunch, and my friend had only been there for dinner. I thought that this mall-restaurant, that is meant to cater to the Japanese palette and the well-heeled shopper would at the very least do a decent lunch.
Lunch was not decent. I would have been better served grabbing a bento from Shirokiya. Rokakku’s unagi just did not taste good to me P-E-R-I-O-D. One of my favorite places to get unagi is at Izuei in Ueno Park of Tokyo. To me Izuei (while it may be Osaka-style) captures the subtle flavors of the unagi, and the sides are just right. At Rokkaku, my unagi was too fishy tasting and was way too dry like it forgot it was a waterborne animal. The kabayaki sauce did nothing to hide this either. The salad that came before on the either hand was drowning in dressing as if to make up for the lack of greens.
Now, some of you may say, wait a minute that is Tokyo?! How can a Honolulu, mall-based restaurant compare to an authentic Japanese experience? Normally, I would agree with you, but Rokakku bills itself as “Authentic Japanese Cuisine.” Moreover, Chef Hiroshi is a world-quality chef. So I can compare and say find somewhere else for lunch. This review says nothing about their dinner.
Lastly, let me say that a week after this lunch I was in Kyoto and Tokyo eating good unagi, trying to erase this lunch from memory.