The Lunch Set menu with pork ginger and assorted sashimi, rice, miso soup, chawanmushi, salad and picked vegetable
Sometimes luxe is where you least expect it. Take Minori Craft Japanese Tavern, the reboot of now-shuttered locavore izakaya Tsukada Nojo. Next door to Michelin-cheffed Maru Sushi just outside Waikiki, Minori exudes a bold, edgy vibe with its soaring ceilings and mix of industrial and rustic dark-wood accents. Bracketing the large, open floor plan are a bar and an open kitchen complete with stacks of exposed dishware, a homey izakaya-style touch.
The rustic, refined open-floor-plan interiors
All this begs the question: Do the dishes skew simple or chic? The answer is in the Minori Beautifying Hot Pot and its sublime original chicken paitan, spicy miso or sukiyaki-based broth. It arrives at your table a pale-gold half-sphere of long-simmered stock that, frozen overnight, immediately begins to relinquish its goodness atop a live flame. An empty bowl is proffered, inviting a trip to the locally sourced all-you-can-eat salad bar, where fresh kale, watermelon radishes, okra, eggplant and other pristine selections are offered in unlimited amounts. You cook these in your now-bubbling hot pot, with fresh chicken and chicken sausage; we strongly suggest adding on Minori’s delicate, beautifully flavored gyoza. There are sushi rolls and gorgeously plated carpaccios on the menu, and the tender simmered pork belly and juicy fried gyoza are not to be missed. But it’s the hot pot that defines Minori’s take on food—rich, silky and indulgent, with a modern locavore bend that beautifully spans both traditional and modern.
Kinako and matcha warabimochi
MINORI CRAFT JAPANESE TAVERN
1731 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
Lunch: Daily, 11am-3pm
Dinner: Sun.-Thu., 5pm-midnight; Fri. & Sat., 5pm-2am
Photography by: minori craft japanese tavern