After our last tasty visit a few years back, as we were in the area, we couldn't pass up an opportunity to eat at Gaku! After making hasty reservations, (and luckily getting one!) we parked in their free parking just adjacent to their restaurant and was greeted by a chorus of welcome's in Japanese by all the staff. Our luck continued, and we were seated at the cozy dark wood sushi bar with Chef Nobu, Chef Hideki off to our left and who we presumed to be the master chef off to our right. After ordering some green tea, we asked our talented Chef Nobu for an omakase meal - one where he creates on the spot, pairing up menu items that he feels best go together. After asking for our preferences, its amazing food time!!! We had so much food, we had to split up the posts into three parts!
Chef Nobu's first creation was the Spicy Neghihamachi tartare, a delicious combination of subtly sweet fresh hamachi paste, salty-sweet masago, a touch of chilies and acidity to balance out the rich quail egg yolk crowning the yumminess. Stir it all up and laugh at our attempts to wrap up the tastiness in small sheets of crisp nori provided. Mmmmm!!!
Here's a close up of the yummy Spicy Neghihamachi tartare garnished in thinly sliced green onions, served on a bed of ice to keep it nice and cool. With just a hint of heat from the chills, its a nice balance of salty savoury sweet yumminess... NOM!!!
We watched the Master Chef Manabu Kikuchi prep for a kaleidoscope of tasty creations. I think he's opening up boxes of fresh uni (sea urchin roe) here
Next up, we had a light salad of lightly blanched pea shoots and mushrooms, swimming in a delicate dressing.
Sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds, this subtly seasoned dish served well as a palate cleanser after the flavourful punch from the spicy Neghihamachi tartare.
The next dish on our omakase menu was a plate of freshly shucked Goosebay oysters from the Seattle area. These medium-large oysters were succulent, plump and topped with a little bit of grated diakon in ponzu sauce, a touch of sake and thinly sliced green onions.
Rich, creamy with a clean and slightly briny salty finish, these oysters were divine. *slurp!*
Sashimi was next up! From clockwise top, we had O-toro sashimi, tuna, Japanese horse mackerel, Ebi (shrimp), Ehu (Hawaiian mackerel) and centre was red snapper. The tuna was lean and firm - we prefer rich fatty tuna, but this type of tuna is perfect for making into poke, a tuna-sesame dressed seaweed salad we love in Hawaii. Their horse mackerel is fresh and its characteristically strong flavour is mellowed by some grated fresh ginger root and minced green onions, while the shrimp is fresh and lightly sweet.
The Ehu was very similar to mackerel we get up in Canada, though it had a light sweet taste to it. The red snapper while delicate in flavour, had a waxy texture we couldn't decide if we liked or not. We finished with the pieces of O-toro... rich, creamy, decadent with a hint of sweetness. Deliciously amazing!
Stay tuned for part 2... much more tasty food to come!!!
Gaku Sushi Izakaya
Address 1329 S King St Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone (808) 589-1329
Hours varies, call to find out and make reservations ahead of time