Posts Tagged ‘Unagi


midnight munchies spotlight: Imanas Tei’s Beef Tongue and Other Goodies

It’s not a secret that I am a big fan of izakaya (居酒屋) food. It’s also no secret that I like to stuff my face late at night. Probably later than one should following sound medical advice. Oh well, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to take wonderful pictures of the food that goes so well with sake or Japanese brew.

Anyway, Imanas Tei, while not technically open till  midnight (and the kitchen closes well before then), is a place I find myself often on Friday or Saturday nights with friends close to midnight, which is perfect because after sake and sushi I can run (may be take labored steps) toward Bubbies for ice cream!

Anyway, here are some of my favorite late night salty treats that go well with sake and friends:

Kinpira (金平) gobo (牛蒡) or burdock is a nice salty and sweet appetizer with a bit of crunch that like to start out with.

Agedashi tofu (揚げ出し豆腐) another nice small dish. I like the texture of the crunch with the soft tofu inside sitting in a nice broth. I think I also delude myself into thinking I’m eating something healthy because it has tofu . . . .

Beef tongue or usually referred to tan shio (タン塩), which literally translates into “tongue salt” because it is usually flavored with salt is one of my favorites. The texture is usually delicate, but slightly chewy and the saltiness erodes any delusion in my head that this is something healthy . . . well there is the lemon and parsley, no? Anyway, I can’t saw if Imanas Tei’s beef tongue is better than Aki-No-No’s because I really just like the beef tongue itself.

You can’t go to a Hawaii izakaya and not get some sort of sushi, or well I can’t. Always one of my favorites is unagi, cucumber, and avocado roll. To me its a classic that I never get tired of and probably could it 3 days a week, possibly 4 if there is sake with it.

Speaking of sake, I love Imanas Tei because it has my favorite sake for izakaya food. Akitabare Junmai “Northern Skies” compliments salty food quite well because of how dry and smooth it goes down. Not to be trite about it all, but the name is highly evocative of a northern skies, crisp and cool. I highly recommend it.


A Quick Lunch Review: Rokakku’s Unagi Set

Quick Line: If you want unagi and are stuck at Ala Moana Shopping Center just go to Shirokiya.

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.

Looks like unagi, smells like unagi, does NOT taste like unagi!

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.

The dressing to green ratio definitely indicates the dressing is winning by a large margin.

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.

Look other stuff that came with the lunch set that I could not be bothered to write about because of the bad unagi.


Raiding one refrigerator at a time!

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