Friday, August 28, 2009

Noboru in Kailua - Perhaps the Best All Around Japanese on Oahu

Authentic is a word that is used a lot but makes me nervous sometimes. For example, when someone says that a restaurant serves authentic cuisine, I tend to be skeptical. But in my opinion, Noboru Restaurant in Kailua (201 Hamakua Drive, across the street from Safeway and next to Zia's) qualifies as authentic Japanese cuisine. Chef/owner Akito Yoshioka is originally from Japan and is a highly skilled chef. Everything he does is with a mind to quality (and not necessarily quantity...this isn't a plate lunch place where you get tons of food). From noodle bowls to Teishoku dinners, Yoshioka prepares superb meals.

One of my favorites is the mini-don combination, where you get a small donburi (a savory ingredient served over rice, such as tempura) and a small bowl of udon (thick noodles in broth). It's a nice way to sample several flavors.

The tempura is outstanding, and while I have never tried the beef teriyaki or the steak, I have heard people rave about both. The sashimi is very fresh and expertly presented.

My favorite dish is the broiled saba (mackerel). It is probably the best in Hawaii by far. It is not the dish to order if your palette is on the American side, but if you love Japanese food, this is as good as any you might get in Japan.

For dessert, the green tea cheesecake sounds a little strange, but is absolutely delicious.

A considerable bonus is that co-owner Julie Yoshioka recently became one of only three or four certified sake specialists in Hawaii. You have to go to Japan and receive special training in order to be certified, so if you drink sake, you will receive expert advice and education. From time to time, Julie has sake tastings for education and enjoyment.

I have gone many times, and have always been satisfied. I think you will be as well.

Grace and aloha,


P. S. When I visited Japan with a group of United Methodist pastors and laypeople several years ago, I noticed that the Christian churches often did not have a cross, or it was not prominently displayed. In one church, instead of a cross, there was a giant crown of thorns. I learned that in Japan, the cross often has a negative connotation, one of Western imperialism. The crown of thorns was more in keeping with the Japanese sensibilities of the sacrificial, suffering servant model which Christ exemplifies.

Indeed, the cross as a symbol of the church did not come into popularity until the 4th century A.D., when the Roman Emperor Constantine dreamed that he was led in victory by a cross. Constantine became a Christian and legalized Christianity in the empire.

Up until then, the cross was such a horrific symbol of execution, that the early Christians also avoided using the cross as a symbol of faith (imagine wearing a neck-chain with a mini electric chair and you get the idea). In the catacombs, the symbol of the loaves and fishes was a common symbol of the gathered Christian community.

The Christianity I see portrayed on TV is so often the imperialistic, triumphal version. Maybe that's why so many people are turned off to church. Perhaps more emphasis on the suffering servant Christ and the community that comes from the loaves and fishes is needed to show the more "authentic" side of Christianity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I 2nd the notion about Noboru.
Have you tried their Sukiyaki? They even serve you a raw egg on the side if you request it...just like I remember in Japan!!!

Good job again Tom! Keep up the great work.