Honolulu: Sushi Sho (from Tokyo) to Open in Ritz Carlton, Waikiki, by 10/03/2016

This is exciting! It opens at the new Ritz Carlton in Waikiki. I am going at the end of October and will be sure to report back.

I believe Nakazawa-san himself will be at the Waikiki location, while his former student Takashi Shingo (of Takumi Shingo) will helm the original branch in Yotsuya, Tokyo.

I ate at Sushi Ginza Onodera and Vintage Cave’s Sushi Kazuma on my last visits to Honolulu, so I’m really interested how this will compare. Japanese high-end dining continues to get pretty serious in Honolulu!


They are open, and I will repot back in about 1 month. I’m avoiding looking at Yelp pictures to preserve the surprise. Considering doing Sushi Ginza Onodera the night before, to get a real read on how they compare. FWIW, Sushi Ginza Onodera blew everything out of the water from SF and LA, for me, where I’ve eaten around quite a bit. This is one of the year’s openings about which I’m most excited!

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Just for calibration, what in SF and LA did you compare Ginza Onodera to?

SF: Hashiri, Kusakabe, Maruya, Akiko’s, Jiro at Saison, An Japanese, Pabu, and in the Peninsula - Sushi Yoshizumi, Sawa.

LA: Sushi Zo, Zo DTLA, Q, Mori, Shunji, Shiki, Matsuhisa, Nozawa Bar, n/naka (this is Kaiseki but there was sushi), Yamakase, Sushi Tsujita, Kiriko, Sushi Sushi, Sushi Park, Hiko, Sushi Gen, and outside of LA proper - Go’s Mart, Nobu Malibu, 4 on 6, Hanami, Kanda, Sushi Nozomi.

I should rephrase - Sushi Ginza Onodera doesn’t blow everything out of the water in every aspect, but it was the best meal all around with no flaws, in my opinion. I can, and have had many excellent meals at some of the above, and some of them I gladly frequent that have some truly excellent sushi, but on the whole, I do think Sushi Ginza Onodera was a notch higher, and that left an impression on me. It’s not like every piece at Ginza Onodera was that much better, but all the aspects on the whole made it a top meal, where I can comfortably say that I haven’t had anything in SF or LA quite at that level. For example, Hashiri with Mekaru-san had some great sushi but I was disappointed by the neta’s preparation in a few pieces, Mori has excellent rice and formation but their neta is not quite at that level at times, n/naka’s proportions and “pressing” were off to me, Zo’s proportions and knifework aren’t consistent, etc. as I’m nitpicking, and again I can have some really awesome pieces and a great sushi meal meal, but in terms of the whole thing, Sushi Ginza Onodera was elevated to just that next level for me. Vintage Cave’s Sushi Kazuma had products that were so good they were eye-opening (that seki-aji, oma tuna, shizuoka wasabi, myoga, even the daikon was wow, but they could give incredible produce because it costs at least twice of almost anywhere in California), but Ginza Onodera had better proportions and pressing than Kazuma, to me. That surprised me, because I had eaten so much sushi in LA that I wasn’t expecting that jump, so I got a bit excited…and maybe a little carried away! This isn’t scientific but just my opinion, and I should note that there are some places in SF and LA I’ve visited once, and some I’ve visited 20+ times, so I know that a single visit isn’t always indicative of a restaurant’s potential. Also, some places improve with time and not all sushi chefs at the restaurant are equal, and you kind of have to find your groove with your itamae. But Sushi Ginza Onodera had it in spades in all the details right away (very skilled formation, excellent consistent rice with the right “nebari” and proportions, always proper temperatures, neta prepared with the right knifework and texture, real top quality provenance neta of course, not a hint of sloppiness, a real nice pacing and flow, their dashi was damn good at the start with truly clean depth, etc.) and I could tell that, for me at least, it’s that next level.


This is a Sushi Sho thread, though, so I will do Sushi Ginza Onodera in separate dedicated thread. I’ll report on Sushi Sho here, and I’ve decided to do Onodera the day before for a back-to-back comparison.


Thanks. Helpful to know.

Don’t know when Onodera is ever going to open its doors in LA.

Onodera anticipates Dec. 1 for LA opening. It’ll be the biggest SGO bar so far, with about 16 seats (L-shaped bar…meanwhile, the Honolulu location has only 7 counter seats, straight across.) LA opening could be as late as end of the year, though. I will post a review in a separate thread, because this is the Sushi Sho thread.

So I went to Sushi Ginza Onodera and Sushi Sho back to back nights, and both were incredible. I will post a full review here, soon. Let me just say that Sho is doing something quite special and unique to Hawaii - not just a Tokyo outpost.


Outfrigging standing report!!!

Did you get to Kihei, Maui for the excellent sushi at Koiso?

Lol I didn’t report yet! I will do so this weekend. Usually I don’t take pictures, but this time I made an exception. Sushi Sho is really fantastic and I’m already booking my return visit in February!

Didn’t go to Koiso, but I did stay in Maui. Maui food wasn’t nearly as kind to us as Honolulu’s was! Night and day for us.

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I was reading up thread…

HNL, IMO, has some of the best food on the planet…for Sushi, Asian, Korean and Asian/Hawaiian fusion.
I used to think it was Paris, SF and Sydney but for me in the last 5+ years its been HNL and LA.

Maui has delicious food but the sushi is average, except for Koiso…
I do love Star Noodle in Lahaina…

Aloha Brad and look forward to the weekend report!

How was the Ritz in Waikiki?
Did you eat at the hotel…

Ritz Waikiki is fantastic. Of course, it’s brand new. Quick walk to my new favorite shave ice place, too (more on that in the report later).

Yes, we ate at Sushi Sho (behind BLT) for dinner and Dean&Deluca for a quick breakfast once. Did not end up going to BLT (Helena’s x2 instead!).

Ok I’m talking too much about other stuff and this is the Sushi Sho thread so here’s a preview:

Local Moi fish (the “king’s fish,” pacific threadfin) aged in kojizuke for (6?) days, then quickly marinated in shoyu zuke, then topped with aged kelp. That is a custom Big Island curly koa wood “geta” and the 10 seat bar is beautiful hinoki (cypress).

Yes they are doing something very unique with local fishes and they have very interesting takes on local iconic Hawaiian dishes. Their “Lau Lau” is definitely Michelin 3* level (for context: I’ve eaten at all the SF ones in the last year, sometimes multiple visits, except for Quince which was a few years back). Sushi Sho uses approximately 60% Hawaiian ingredients and 40% Japanese ingredients. They will elevate the quality of the fish markets and supply in Honolulu. In retrospect, the meals at Sushi Sho and Sushi Ginza Onodera were rather different overall, even if some elements were very similar. Both were fantastic and could be some of the top sushiyas in the country.

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Scottish salmon “Lau Lau” Sho-style. This dish was incredible. Warm Scottish salmon, wrapped in opah kama, wrapped in luau leaves (looks almost like wakame and the dish like a gunkanmaki). The opah cheek was meaty and tender like the pork traditionally used, but smoother in texture. Chilled tosazu gelee on top and warm asparagus veloute on bottom contrasted beautifully. Classic salmon and asparagus. A novel combination of contrasts and a reinterpretation of a traditional local comfort food. Overall, it was a masterful play of textures, temperatures, cultures, and flavor in an expertly composed dish.

And that tosazu - just perfect!

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