Michelin-starred Maru Sushi opens in Honolulu

Maru Sushi, an iconic Michelin-starred sushi bar in Sapporo, Hokkaido, opened its second location in Honolulu tonight. Helmed by the founding owner and executive chef Takeshi Kawasaki, the exclusive nine-seat counter will give diners two course options, each featuring an impressive lineup of Edomae sushi incorporating Hokkaido’s finest seafood bounty.

The sushi bar will offer a $180 course that features 6-7 appetizers and about 14 pieces of nigiri, and a $220 course with 6-7 appetizers and about 16 pieces of nigiri with elevated ingredients. The nigiri count for each course will vary based on market prices for the ingredients, most of which will be flown in fresh regularly from Hokkaido.

The restaurant is developing a finely curated selection of drinks to complement the sushi, including Suntory Malts beer by the draft, as well as a selection of fine wines, sake, and shochu. Reservations will be taken at 5:00 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 7:45 p.m., with the experiencing lasting no more than two hours.

Almost an exact replica of the Hokkaido restaurant designed by Takeshi Kawasaki himself, the 647 square-foot Honolulu location exudes a traditional Japanese aesthetic, from the entrance hall lined with thin stalks of bamboo emerging from a bed of white stones to the grey slate tiles leading up to the intimate 250-square foot dining room comprised of a low sushi counter with nine custom-made seats. The space’s interior is dominated by an L-shaped counter and seafood showcase made completely of blonde cedar, as soothing earth tones on the walls complement the warm ambiance. Recessed lights softly illuminate the counter, as a textured silhouette of Diamond Head on the wall subtly hints at the restaurant’s nod to its new home in Hawaii.

“I have spent a lifetime as a sushi chef, constantly challenging myself to become better,” says Takeshi Kawasaki, executive chef and owner of Maru Sushi. “After earning a Michelin star in 2011, and having my son carry on my legacy at the restaurant in Sapporo, my wife and I can fulfill our dreams and comfortably move to Hawaii,”

“Though I may have retired to Hawaii, where I cherish the relaxed spirit of the islands, I still vigilantly maintain a discerning sense of taste and a very high standard for my craft,” Kawasaki adds. “I hope the people of Hawaii will relish the flavors of Hokkaido and appreciate my attention to detail.”

Maru Sushi is located at 1731 Kalakaua Avenue, in a brand new two-story building near the Hawaii Convention Center. The restaurant will open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 5:00 to 10:30 p.m. For more information, please call (808) 951-4445.

About Chef Takeshi Kawasaki

Hokkaido-born Chef Takeshi Kawasaki started his career in sushi at the age of 15, after losing his mother. Attending high school during the day, he spent his evenings learning the trade at a local sushi restaurant. After graduation, he relocated to Kyoto for college, where he continued to work part time at a sushi restaurant. Completing his degree in Kyoto, Kawasaki decided to return home, where he took on a position at the esteemed Sushi Zen in Susukino for 10 years. Patiently waiting for the right window of opportunity, he launched his restaurant Maru Sushi in 1987, and quickly gained a reputation for his premium ingredients and impeccable technique. This eventually led him to earn his first Michelin star in 2011. In 2016, he left his restaurant in Hokkaido to his son, and moved to Hawaii to enjoy his retirement days with his wife, while continuing to spend his evenings continuing his life’s work as a sushi chef at the second location of Maru Sushi.

Sweet Creams brings ice cream rolls to Honolulu

Another ice cream trend is landing in Honolulu with the arrival of Sweet Creams.

Sweet Creams held its Grand Opening at 1430 Kona Street (next to Ala Moana) today, advertised as the first ice cream store in Hawaii dedicated to serving the popular ice cream rolls that originated in Thailand and has recently caught on in places like New York City, Los Angeles and Boston.

Rolling out flavors such as Strawberry Shortcake, Cookies ‘N Cream, Frozen Hot Cocoa, Pineapple 5-0, and Love You So Matcha, these desserts start with a specially crafted, liquid ice cream base poured onto a pan cooled to around -22 degrees Celsius. Fresh fruit, cookies, candies and more are chopped and woven into the liquid base as it begins to solidify in front of you. After a minute or two, the ice cream is smoothed over the pan, quickly scraped into rolls, and topped with even more fresh ingredients. Customers can also choose custom flavors.

“Not only is it entertaining, the ice cream itself is drawing raving reviews on Instagram and other social sites, and Sweet Creams has already been featured on a couple news stations,” the store says in a release. “Starting out by catering private events, such as birthdays, weddings, and corporate parties, Sweet Creams quickly generated a loyal following through word of mouth.”

With the encouragement of several enthusiastic patrons, co-founders Jeffrey Kao and Bari Carroll – both born and raised in Hawaii – decided to open a store within the first year of business despite having full-time jobs.

“It’s taken countless hours of hard work and dedication, but we really feel like this ice cream concept is going to be a hit,” said Kao. “It’s fun, unique, and we use fresh ingredients without adding in a lot of unnecessary fillers – just the good stuff.”

“We’re doing a lot of interesting things and are excited to roll out new twists as we move forward. The response has been unbelievable so far,” Carroll added.

Sweet Creams will be open daily from 12pm to 9pm at 1430 Kona Street, next to Manichi Ramen and the main bus stops at Ala Moana.

About Sweet Creams

Sweet Creams is the first ice cream store in Hawaii dedicated to the popular ice cream rolls craze that originated in Thailand. Using fresh, local fruits and ingredients, we offer a unique ice cream treat in a fun and exciting way. No freezers needed! Each ice cream roll is handmade in front of you and provides a unique and entertaining experience. We look forward to having you try our exciting new take on ice cream – from Hawaii, for Hawaii! For more information, visit sweetcreamshawaii.com or our store at 1430 Kona Street, Honolulu, HI – open daily from 12pm to 9pm.

Dave & Busters Honolulu Expands Menu

Dave & Buster’s Honolulu introduced new menu items this month, inviting football and basketball fans as well as gamers to enjoy the new offerings at a family-friendly dinner and lunch restaurant.

“We love seeing our guests enjoy great food, while they watch their favorite teams,” said Matt Luckett, General Manager of Dave & Buster’s Honolulu. “Our new food and drink selections are sure to be a hit, whether they come to watch sports, play games or hang out with friends.”

Dave & Buster’s Honolulu has added two new appetizers, a sandwich, a burger, an entree and three new cocktails.

The first of the two new appetizers is the Ancho Caesar Lettuce Wraps, made with thinly sliced marinated chicken breast, shredded Parmesan, bacon, avocado, diced tomatoes and Ancho Chile Caesar dressing, all atop romaine hearts. The second is Grilled Smoked Chicken Wings, made with twelve hardwood smoked chicken wings and served with four dipping sauces: buttermilk ranch, Thai chili, Sriracha honey soy and creamy Carolina Reaper hot sauce.

The new Angry Orchard Hard Cider Pulled Pork Sandwich is made with slow-roasted pulled pork and cider barbecue sauce, served with fresh buttermilk ranch slaw. The BBBacon Burger, also new, is the ultimate take on a bacon burger, with a seared and seasoned half pound burger, applewood smoked bacon, peppered bacon pork belly and smoked Gouda sauce, served on a brioche bun with seasoned fries on the side. Another new entree is the Crispy Nashville-Style Hot Chicken, which includes two crispy, hand-battered chicken breasts marinated in Nashville-style hot sauce, served with parmesan creamed spinach and loaded mashed potatoes with sharp cheddar sauce.

For cocktail lovers, three specially crafted drinks will be available for the first time at Dave & Buster’s Honolulu, including the Georgia Peach Smash, Wildberry Burst Smash and Mango Passion Smash. The Georgia Peach Smash is made with Crown Royal, DeKuyper Peachtree peach schnapps and fresh peach puree. The flavorful Wildberry Burst Smash is a mix of BULLEIT rye whiskey, Toorani Mixed Berry and some sweet n’ sour. Finally, the Mango Passion Smash recipe puts together Maker’s Mark, Monin and passion fruit.

Dave & Buster’s Honolulu diners appreciate the fun atmosphere and drink and food menus. Sports fans can watch a variety of games and families can enjoy the arcade. Dave & Buster’s Honolulu also serves as a private party and corporate function venue.

About Dave & Buster’s Honolulu

Back in the late 1970s, Buster opened a restaurant known for its tasty food and friendly service. A few doors down, Dave opened an outrageous place for entertainment and games where adults were irresistibly drawn for fun. The two young entrepreneurs noticed people rotating between their establishments, and an idea started to form: What if they put both under one roof? Dave & Buster’s Honolulu is Hawaii’s only Dave & Buster’s location, proudly serving the island of Oahu. For more information on Dave & Buster’s Honolulu, please visit www.daveandbusters.com/honolulu.