Sekiya's Restaurant & Delicatessen
Sorry, but I will be working late for the next couple of nights so I won't be able to update this post until Thursday or Friday. But rather than leave you all hanging (especially you Clinton and Kirk)...ENJOY!
Located across from Kaimuki High School, Sekiya's has been serving local-style homecooked favorites for almost 50 years. Starting in 1957, generations of locals have grown up eating the food served here, and everytime I visit, I'm reminded of some of my favorite home cooked dishes -- saimin, pork tofu, beef tomato and butterfish nitsuke.
As you enter the restaurant, the first thing you'll notice is the okazuya counter. During the day, the warmers are filled with many different dishes that are combined to create your very own "mixed" bento box (plate lunch). Since I almost always visit at night, this area is usually closed.
Inside, there are a number of booths with can accomodate 3 or 4 dozen people. Near the "wall of glass" at the far end of the room are a few tables that will accomodate larger parties, and right outside, is a Japanese garden.
The last time I was here, I dined with a friend who lives nearby. For some reason, my friend had never been here and wondered how the food was. After we looked over the menu, and place our orders, we sat and waited for the food to arrive. First to be delivered was a pot of tea, a bowl of rice, a dish of tsukemono and a bowl of miso soup.
When eating a local Japanese restaurants, these are the things that will most accompany your meal. The miso soup contained cubes of tofu and lots of chopped green onions. The tsukemono (Japanese pickles) served here consists of salted Chinese cabbage.
Soon after, the hash tempura (6 pieces, US$4.50) arrived at the table, fresh out of the fryer.
Corned beef is mixed with potatoes and various seasonings before being rolled into balls, covered in batter and deep fried. Piping hot, I took the first bite. The first thing I tasted were the creamy, slightly sweet potatoes inside. It was only then that I noticed the lack of actual corned beef. It was quite surprising that these weren't as good as they usually are.
This was my friend's choice, the oyako donburi (US$7.95).
Slices of onion are cooked with pieces of dark meat chicken in some dashi before the egg is added. The egg left a little "runny" and is served in a bowl over hot rice to create the donburi. Here the rendition is pretty straightforward, but I believe they used just a little too much sauce.
Tonight, I decided to sample the nitsuke butterfish (US$13.25, with tofu add US$1.00).
Cubes of tofu were combined with pieces of butterfish in a classic nitsuke "sauce" (flavored with shoyu and mirin among other things). The "sauce" was well seasoned, and neither too sweet nor too salty for my tastes. The pieces of butterfish had a very "fishy" aroma and consisted of many small pieces full of bones. This dish would have been much better had it been prepared using a single butterfish "steak" rather than chopped up, leftover pieces of butterfish.
In my opinion, over the years, the quality of the food at Sekiya's has slipped as the prices have increased. It has often left me wondering if the changes in ownership has been the cause of this. Granted, there are quite a number of dishes that remain favorites, but for a few others, there are many other places that serve food that tastes just as good, or better, and are a lot more reasonably priced.
Sekiya's Restaurant & Delicatessen
2746 Kaimuki Avenue