Super Secret Izakaya Elevates Japanese Street Food to Kaiseki Cuisine

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Photo: Thomas Obungen


Inside Waikīkī’s Luana Resort, a good wood doorway separates a tiny restaurant space from the foyer. The door is a element that echoes homey izakaya places deeply distinctive to Ricky Goings, the chef behind the $150 prix fixe dinners that unfold at the rear of it, system by meticulous training course. You may perhaps not have listened to of Goings, but the list of kitchens he’s cooked in reads like a cross-area of the area meals scene over the previous 10 years: now-shuttered izakaya Aki-no-No, He‘eia Kea Pier Basic Shop & Deli, Prima, Butcher & Hen, Sushi Ii and other individuals. Now, at Super Mystery Izakaya in the Luana’s Fish Hook Café space, Goings bares the chief lesson he figured out from the pandemic, which claimed the everyday living of his father: What matters most is cooking from the soul.


For Goings this usually means his edition of kaiseki in an elevated izakaya placing, next the development of programs of a conventional kaiseki meal. Like other prix-fixe restaurants, this 1 is by reservation only like other kaiseki restaurants, there are no menu substitutions. I know Goings pretty nicely, obtaining labored with him several years ago and adopted his vocation considering the fact that. He’s invited me to a personal tasting, a preview of what he’s debuting to the general public. So if all eaters in your social gathering are open up to something, and to feeding on perfectly and taking in a ton, you can discover oneself seated in the cozy dining room with a blend of hip-hop and steel buzzing by means of the speakers. I suggest bringing sake, as it will get jovial.


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Photo: Thomas Obungen


The food starts with a slender, bubbly cracker topped with an herbed smoked salmon unfold sprinkled with lemon zest. This is paired with a cold pressed spinach salad evenly seeping sesame oil with little pops of shrimp and bonito flakes still left over from creating dashi. While unassuming on its surface area, the blend is deep and ethereal, making me psyched for what’s to appear. 


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Tsukune and truffles. Image: Thomas Obungen


While I have go through the menu, every single dish is similarly surprising in some way. The development of 7 savory programs followed by dessert and fruits is smooth and straightforward, and the portions are plentiful. A mild avocado soup will come next, its creaminess minimize by pops of smoked trout roe and grounded with marginally bitter toasted black beans cilantro lingers in the track record. For the grilled training course, we get an interpretation of tsukune, the grilled skewers of seasoned minced rooster located at yakitori counters. Since the kitchen doesn’t have an genuine grill, these are deep-fried menchi katsu type, crammed with havarti cheese, drizzled with a many years-previous mother tare sauce that Goings carried back from Japan and draped with copious amounts of feathered Australian black truffles. It’s our initially hint that we’re in for a operate of humble street-model izakaya dishes, pushed to the limit of delicacy and elevated a lot more than a couple notches.


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Photograph: Thomas Obungen


Following up is my beloved dish of the night: takoyaki, Osaka’s famed grilled octopus road dumplings, but in this case a crispy ‘ulu cake, creamy in the center and studded with tender pieces of tako. On prime is a dollop of shiny 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 versus taco, get it?), so the ‘ulu cake sits on a bed of iceberg lettuce, its ragout of chorizo carrying a hint of cinnamon. It hits all the buttons. The spiciness is rounded out and leaves me with a gradual burn up. Curry butter crab and a product croquette stick to. Up coming, a smoky aroma wafts from guiding the counter, drawing approving hoots and hollers from our desk (you can make some noise at this kaiseki), before modest earthen pots are placed in front of us. Far more aromatic kiawe smoke escapes when we raise the lids. In true kaiseki style, the last program is a savory rice dish with takuan adding crunchy, tart pops even though cubes of konyaku engage in on the palate like ika. On major are flawlessly slimy wild mushrooms and more black truffles. We are stuffed.


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Photo: Thomas Obungen


Just one of the things I usually favored between Goings’ dishes at Sushi Ii ended up his foie gras specials. Now, soon after having us on a particular journey by way of the food items that he loves, will come the weirdly delicious finale that, figuring out Goings’ personality, I realize I’ve subconsciously been ready for. It is still unanticipated: a foie gras and Nutter Butter sandwich with berry jam dusted with kinako roasted soy powder. The mix garners smiles, laughs and moans. If you are all set to e-book a seat, direct-message Goings at his Instagram below, and know that by the conclusion of the meal you will have gotten a fantastic search at the coronary heart of this chef, due to the fact this time about it’s all about him. 


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