Kona Kai Sushi Bar in Honolulu, Hawaii
Kona Kai Sushi Bar
Finally, a little restaurant gem in the middle of a surplus of sushi eateries in Honolulu.
James Matsukawa, the head sushi chef at Kona Kai Sushi Bar located in the Moiliili section of Honolulu, hales from Kealakekua on the Big Island of Hawaii. Kealakekua is the quintessential bucolic epitome of what rural Hawaii is all about, located a few miles South of Kailua-Kona.
It is no surprise that a young man raised in such a lovely place with its close proximity to the freshest of ocean harvests, could hone his skills to become one of the premier sushi chefs in Hawaii.
Kona Kai restaurant is a little hard to find, however with the following directions, you can locate it easily: It is located at 2535 Coyne St. in Moiliili. Coyne St. runs parallel to Beretania St. on the mountain side, (mauka), of Beretania. Proceed down a drive way adjacent to the Rock Bottom Bar and go to the rear of the building, then glance up to your left. –It’s on the 2nd floor up some stairs.
We sat at the sushi bar, where we could converse with James and determine what sushi direction to go. Some of the stellar selections we enjoyed were: Ika stuffed with blue crab; salmon w/ a layer of white kelp; deep sea scallop; king crab w/ kani-miso; prawn w/ a topping of black tobiko caviar; Japanese Oyster-Rockafeller w/aioli (slightly baked); oyster with a layer of ikura caviar. A small rock lobster tail grilled with a special aioli topped things off and was incredibly delicious. Our food was accompanied with Asahi Beer and and some of the best saki imaginable.
If you’re looking for a bargain-basement kind of sushi bar, this probably isn’t the right place for you. The old adage, “you get what you pay for”, definitely holds true at Kona Kai. You may pay a little more at Kona Kai, but it is well worth it!
For future reference, James is planning to open a new Kona Kai in the Pan Am Bldg. on Kapiolani Blvd.
Author: Val Patacchi is a freelance writer and avid traveler.