Super Secret Izakaya Elevates Japanese Street Food to Kaiseki Cuisine


Secret Izakaya Credit Thomas Obungen 03

Image: Thomas Obungen


Inside Waikīkī’s Luana Hotel, a strong wooden door separates a modest restaurant room from the foyer. The door is a depth that echoes homey izakaya spots deeply exclusive to Ricky Goings, the chef guiding the $150 prix fixe dinners that unfold powering it, training course by meticulous class. You could not have listened to of Goings, but the list of kitchens he’s cooked in reads like a cross-segment of the neighborhood food items scene more than the earlier decade: now-shuttered izakaya Aki-no-No, He‘eia Kea Pier Typical Store & Deli, Prima, Butcher & Bird, Sushi Ii and some others. Now, at Super Solution Izakaya in the Luana’s Fish Hook Café place, Goings bares the main lesson he uncovered from the pandemic, which claimed the daily life of his father: What matters most is cooking from the soul.


For Goings this usually means his version of kaiseki in an elevated izakaya environment, adhering to the progression of courses of a classic kaiseki food. Like other prix-fixe eating places, this just one is by reservation only like other kaiseki dining establishments, there are no menu substitutions. I know Goings pretty very well, obtaining worked with him several years in the past and followed his occupation considering the fact that. He’s invited me to a non-public tasting, a preview of what he’s debuting to the general public. So if all eaters in your occasion are open up to just about anything, and to eating very well and having a lot, you can come across yourself seated in the cozy eating room with a blend of hip-hop and metallic humming by means of the speakers. I advise bringing sake, as it will get jovial.


SEE ALSO: Islander Sake Pairs a High quality Sushi Omakase with Refreshing Sake Brewed in the Up coming Room


Secret Izakaya Starters Thomas Obungen 10

Photograph: Thomas Obungen


The food starts with a slim, bubbly cracker topped with an herbed smoked salmon distribute sprinkled with lemon zest. This is paired with a chilly pressed spinach salad evenly seeping sesame oil with small pops of shrimp and bonito flakes still left over from producing dashi. Whilst unassuming on its surface, the mix is deep and ethereal, building me energized for what is to come. 


Secret Izakaya Tsukune Thomas Obungen 07

Tsukune and truffles. Photo: Thomas Obungen


Whilst I have go through the menu, every dish is similarly unpredicted in some way. The development of 7 savory classes followed by dessert and fruits is smooth and easy, and the portions are plentiful. A gentle avocado soup comes following, its creaminess slash by pops of smoked trout roe and grounded with somewhat bitter toasted black beans cilantro lingers in the background. For the grilled program, we get an interpretation of tsukune, the grilled skewers of seasoned minced rooster located at yakitori counters. Considering that the kitchen area doesn’t have an precise grill, these are deep-fried menchi katsu model, stuffed with havarti cheese, drizzled with a decades-aged mom tare sauce that Goings carried again from Japan and draped with copious amounts of feathered Australian black truffles. It is our very first hint that we’re in for a run of humble avenue-design and style izakaya dishes, pushed to the restrict of delicacy and elevated extra than a couple notches.


Secret Izakaya Ulu Cake Thomas Obungen 05

Photo: Thomas Obungen


Subsequent up is my most loved dish of the evening: takoyaki, Osaka’s famed grilled octopus road dumplings, but in this situation a crispy ‘ulu cake, creamy in the center and studded with tender parts of tako. On leading is a dollop of brilliant and spicy tarako mayo melting into the crevices. But the dish is a double pun: It is also Goings’ homage to the taco rice at Ethel’s Grill (tako vs . taco, get it?), so the ‘ulu cake sits on a bed of iceberg lettuce, its ragout of chorizo carrying a trace of cinnamon. It hits all the buttons. The spiciness is rounded out and leaves me with a gradual melt away. Curry butter crab and a product croquette follow. Following, a smoky aroma wafts from at the rear of the counter, drawing approving hoots and hollers from our table (you can make some sounds at this kaiseki), in advance of tiny earthen pots are placed in front of us. Far more aromatic kiawe smoke escapes when we lift the lids. In true kaiseki model, the past study course is a savory rice dish with takuan incorporating crunchy, tart pops although cubes of konyaku engage in on the palate like ika. On leading are beautifully slimy wild mushrooms and a lot more black truffles. We are stuffed.


SEE ALSO: Luxe Japanese Beef Elevates Yakiniku Grilling at Kaka‘ako’s Han no Daidokoro


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Image: Thomas Obungen


1 of the items I normally favored among the Goings’ dishes at Sushi Ii ended up his foie gras specials. Now, just after taking us on a personalized journey by way of the food items that he enjoys, arrives the weirdly scrumptious finale that, recognizing Goings’ personality, I understand I’ve subconsciously been waiting around for. It is however unpredicted: a foie gras and Nutter Butter sandwich with berry jam dusted with kinako roasted soy powder. The combination garners smiles, laughs and moans. If you are ready to reserve a seat, direct-concept Goings at his Instagram underneath, and know that by the stop of the meal you’ll have gotten a superior glance at the coronary heart of this chef, mainly because this time close to it’s all about him. 


2045 Kalākaua Ave., @blackangus_ 



Barbara J. Miriam

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