FUUD: Hazuki Izakaya on Keeaumoku Street

March 5th, 2010
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My parents are always looking for that great little Japanese restaurant, the one with a friendly staff, lots of parking, great food and — this will sound weird, but it's true — a place that no one goes to. (They don't like crowds.)

So I'm not sure how they feel about the fact that I'm always blogging about their favorite "secret" spots.

Anyway, they've been talking about a relatively new izakaya on Ke'eaumoku Street, run by the owner of Komokata, a great little Japanese restaurant that used to be in the 'Aina Haina Shopping Center. (It's now a Genki Sushi.)

Hazuki, which is located next to Champions — same owner — and in the spot vacated by Easy Music Center, opened last year in an area buzzing with new eateries.

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From the outside, Hazuki looks like a Japanese tavern.

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But inside, it's a warm family-style restaurant complete with a sushi bar.

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During lunch on a recent weekday, the place was packed. While we still found a seat, we did have to go when the restaurant opened — at 11 a.m. It filled up quickly.

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There's a variety of people who call Hazuki their favorite lunch spot, including construction workers, aloha shirt-clad businesses, families and groups of ladies out in their lunch best.

Like at Komokata, Hazuki serves up chanko nabe ($20 per person), shabu shabu (my favorite!) and other hot pots, along with an extensive menu of izakaya fare, sushi and teishoku meals.

Here's what we ate:

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Most of the meals at lunch came with miso soup, filled with tofu and wakame.

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I ordered combination lunch box ($12.50), choosing beef teriyaki and chicken katsu.

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The panko breading on the katsu was great: light and crunchy.

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The teri beef was sliced thicker than I had anticipated. Still, the flavor was nice. I tend to like my teriyaki on the sweeter side.

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My dad also got the combination box lunch, but chose tempura instead.

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The batter is light and the variety of tempura offerings was great for the price.

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The teishoku meals come with a variety of greens, including a salad and Japanese-style pickled vegetables.

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I'm a sucker for salads at Japanese restaurants. The dressings are always so good. This is no exception: the dressing has a vinegar-y, citrus-y taste.

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My mom loves saba, so she tried the yaki sakana ($9.95), which you can get either saba or salmon.

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She enjoyed the side dish that came with her meal, a small offering of okara.

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She really liked the saba, which isn't my favorite fish. It was well prepared and — a common complaint about this fish — not too fishy.

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On the side, she ordered two nigiri for my sister, who was at home. Here's the ikura nigiri ($6 for two pieces).

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And this is the salmon nigiri ($4 for two pieces).

Hazuki is more restaurant than izakaya — at least at lunch — and the menu boasts how it can be the best of both. Lots of variety — from sushi to teishoku — to satisfy any Japanese cuisine craving.

Next time, though, I'm getting the nabe. I gotta see what that's all about!

Hazuki Izakaya, 1108 Keeaumoku St. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30-11 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Phone: 596-8883.

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Follow Cat on Twitter @thedailydish or send her an e-mail at cat@thecatdish.com.

FUUD: Hinone Mizunone in McCully

August 7th, 2009
By



I'd drive past Hinone Mizunone on King Street and wonder about it.

I spent a lot of time in that structure when it was Taco Bell; curiosity would get to me, but I'd never stop in.

Until a few weeks ago, when a friend suggested we try the place. I couldn't resist the encouragement.

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Outside the restaurant, which occupies the old Taco Bell on King Street.

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The door is around the back, not where the entrance used to be when it was Taco Bell.

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We were surprised how busy the restaurant was — and we didn't go at peak lunch time, either!

Believe it or not, Hinone Mizunone is a chain restaurant in Japan. Opened last year, the restaurant specializes in traditional home-cooked meals and teishoku sets of tonkatsu, broiled salmon, karaage chicken, misoyaki butterfish and tempura (between $10 and $15).

What's supposed to set this restaurant apart from other Japanese eateries and izakaya is the rice. Tamaki Gold, to be exact.

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A kitchen staffer scooping out the billowy soft Tamaki Gold rice into bowls.

Here's what we ate:

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I got the tonkatsu, which came drenched in the sauce.

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The pork was so tender and the breading perfectly done. I prefer the tonkatsu from Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin in Waikiki, but this was good nonetheless.

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I got the teishoku set, which comes with rice, miso soup, side dishes and Japanese salty pickles.

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My friend got the karaage chicken teishoku set.

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The karaage chicken is one of the more popular entrees at the restaurant. It has a simple, no-frills flavor to it that made it good enough to order again.

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That day the sides included kaboocha (pumpkin) and yams.

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Here's the bowl of the famous Tamaki Gold rice. I could just eat this plain — or maybe with some furikake. It's that good.

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The teishoku set comes with miso soup, which always hits the spot.

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Here are some of the Japanese pickled veggies.

In all, I wasn't blown away by the meal or the service (which can be very slow, just FYI). But the flavors were there, the portions were good, and the meals weren't forgettable. (My friend since went back.)

It's hard because there are so many Japanese restaurants to compete with. But if you're in the area and you're desperate for a bowl of quality rice — and maybe some tonkatsu — it's worth stopping by.

Just don't order a Chalupa.

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Follow Cat on Twitter @thedailydish, send her an e-mail at cat@thecatdish.com, and now watch her every Thursday at 6:45 a.m. on KHNL News 8.

Hinone Mizunone, 1345 S. King St. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Phone: 942-4848.