Getting Buzzed at Tokkuri Tei (Honolulu)

tokkuri tei sign

Tokkuri Tei is one of the best izakayas (think Japanese tapas) in Honolulu. We were able to have an amazing dinner there with other food bloggers based in Hawaii, all paid for by FoodBuzz!

Dine on FoodBuzz’s Tab

Back in June, FoodBuzz got together a bunch of Featured Publishers from the South Bay and hosted a dinner at Gochi Japanese Fusion Tapas. We all had a great time, sharing great food and talking “shop” with other food bloggers. So when Annie and I were thinking about things to do and places to eat on our trip back home to Hawaii, I thought it would be fun to get together with FoodBuzz Featured Publishers in Hawaii.

So I contacted FoodBuzz, and found out about a program called “Dine On Us” where Featured Publishers in an area can get together for dinner on FoodBuzz’s dime. Next, I contacted the three FPs in Hawaii: Made Healthier, Accidental Scientist, and Pizza Therapy. We met up for dinner on Tuesday, along with a new FP, Kahakai Kitchen, at Tokkuri Tei on Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu.

Tokkuri Tei’s Spectacular Food

Tokkuri Tei’s menu is a big list of small plates. Besides sashimi, nigiri, and maki sushi, they also have assorted yakitori (broiled meats on a stick) and even “bata” dishes (sauteed in butter). With the helpful suggestions of our waiter, Annie selected a few dishes from each section that caught her attention.

Hamachi Sashimi

tokkuri tei hamachi sashimi

Tokkuri Tei won the Sam Choy Poke Contest with this dish, the “Spider Poke” roll. It is a combination of softshell crab and ahi poke, garnished with masago and ikura fish roe. It was exquisite. This is one fancy sushi! The ikura was also surprisingly fresh, not fishy or oily at all.

tokkuri tei spider roll 3

Salmon normally isn’t very good in most sushi places we visit. But this salmon sashimi was the freshest fish that I’ve had in a while. Soft, buttery, smooth on the tongue, no little pieces of string evident. I could have had another whole plate of this myself.

tokkuri tei salmon sashimi

When you think of miso butterfish, you think of a fillet of black cod that has been marinated in miso and then broiled. The chefs at Tokkuri Tei took it to another level, deep-frying the fish tempura-style and then serving it on a plate with a thin pool of miso sauce. Outstanding.

tokkuri tei miso butterfish tempura

This salmon skin tofu salad with silken tofu was probably the largest dish of the night. A block of smooth, silken tofu sitting under microgreens mixed with salmon chunks and salmon skin, all topped with nori and masago. It is a favorite item on the menu, but I found it to be overdressed and overloaded with raw white onion.

tokkuri tei salmon skin tofu salad 5

Once Annie ordered, the dishes started coming rapid-fire. It was all we could do to take pictures, pass the plate along, take a piece of each plate, and try to eat it before the next dish was delivered to our table. The waiter said that once the dishes are ordered, the kitchen just pumps them out, no slowing down.

So the food was consumed within the first hour, and we had the rest of the evening to really get to know each other better. Albert from Pizza Therapy is a teacher and an Internet marketer, but his passion is pizza and his prized pizza recipe has been sent all over the world. Michelle the Accidental Scientist is a “lab rat” studying corals on Coconut Island but her passion for cooking is so vast, she doesn’t make the same recipe twice. And Deb from Kahakai Kitchen, who works in human resources, makes her own garam masalas for her favorite Indian cuisine.

When all was said and done, we walked out of there stuffed to the gills but extremely happy to have come. We arrived as strangers and left as friends. The shared food and the shared camaraderie contributing to the “buzz” high generating smiles on all our faces.

Thanks, FoodBuzz!
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Aloha, Nate

13 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Debinhawaii says:

    >Hi,
    Just got my post up and wanted to say Mahalo again for a great evening. Wonderful recap post and your pictures are so much better than mine! Annie you can order for me any time–I think I am still full! Hope the rest of the trip is fun and hope to see you again on your next visit.
    Aloha,
    Deb

  2. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Deb – I like your post and your writing. We can all learn from each other how to become better bloggers!

  3. Michelle says:

    >Mahalo from me too! Annie, ditto on the ordering ability as well – let’s do it again next time you’re in town!

  4. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Michelle – sure thing!

  5. maybelle's mom says:

    >are you a lucky person. this looks amazing.

  6. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Maybelle’s Mom – thanks! we are blessed and thankful.

  7. Katie's blog says:

    >That looks like tons of fun!!! I would love to get together with my St. Louis food bloggers. Your post is beautiful, by the way.

  8. Sangeeth says:

    >oh cool guys..hope u had loads of fun!!!May b i can try something in my area too

  9. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Katie – It WAS. Hope you can organize one for all you STL foodbloggers!

    @Sangeeth – doesn’t hurt to ask.

  10. White on Rice Couple says:

    >Looks like you had a great blogger gathering! When I visit my sis in Hawaii sometime, I’ll have to eat at this place!

  11. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@WoRC – your sis lives in Hawaii? Cool!

  12. Manoa says:

    >oohhhh …. Tokkuri Tei is always on our list when going home. I adore their "cheeseburger" sushi, hamachi collar … ONOLICIOUS!

    You guys seem to hit all my local hangouts .. when you going try Asahi Grill's oxtail soup?

  13. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Manoa (love your handle) – Local-style oxtail soup is one of the things I miss about Hawaii. Don't know when we'll be back.

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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