Matsumoto’ Okazuya plate (clockwise L-R): Kim(n)pira Gobo, Ume Musubi, Vegetable Tempura & Chow Funn
Fairly new on Oahu’s Okazuya scene is Matsumoto’s Okazuya & Restaurant, which opened for business in August 2005.
My friend visited here a week ago and ordered the take-out pictured above from their Okazuya counter. Overall “Spam Musubi” rating from him? FOUR! He gave me a sample of some Chow Funn.. oh boy.. look out St. Louis Delicatessen! This is EXCELLENT Chow Funn! Kept simple, cooked al dente with just sliced carrots, bean sprouts, green onion and perfectly seasoned with just salt and pepper, and some “secret” other seasoning we can’t pinpoint. He really enjoyed the fried chicken and tempura as well.
Patrons also have the option of a broader dine-in menu. First on that list are Combination box lunches such as Sashimi/Beef or Chicken Teri, which also includes Tsukemono (pickled vegetables), salad, miso soup & rice for just $6.75. What a deal! There’s also various Teishoku, Donburi, Soba, Udo, Ramen and “specials” such as Ginger Pork and Salmon Butteryaki. Again, all items include the same sides included with the comination boxes, with most prices in the family-friendly $6-8 range.
There’s also take-out bento’s such as Chicken Teri Donburi for just $4.50, up to their “Large Bento” for $5.75 which includes (start counting!): Teri Beef, Chicken Katsu, 1 pc. Shrimp Tempura, 1 pc. Sweet Potato Tempura, 1 pc. Carrot Tempura, Salad, Rice, Tsukemono, Takuan, Konbu & Grilled Salmon. Did you count? Common.. that’s ELEVEN items for just $5.75. Unbelievable. Folks I WILL get you a sample photo and review of this super bento deal some time very soon.
Matsumoto’s also does take-out/pot-luck party pans, including favorites such as their fantastic Chow Funn, to Mochiko Chicken, to Shrimp Tempura, to Spring Rolls to Nishime, ranging in price from approx. $25 to $40/pan.
Owner Todd Matsumoto also offers catering, private parties and a live Sushi Bar.
Hanahou addition (May 7, 2007)…
we paid a visit to Matsumoto’s Okazuya and Restaurant on Gulick Ave. for lunch this past Friday. This was my first time to order an entire plate for myself.
There’s lots of glare, but in that front window are the classic open display of Okazuya items to choose. More selections are also located just as you walk in the door, where you’re greeted by a very attractive local gal (bonus!). On the right of the front counter is an opening that leads to a rather small restaurant seating area. Here you can order from the full menu as mentioned above.
We got there around noon, which is much later than the 10am finish for Okazuya, but there were still a few items available to choose.
So we walked out with this…
“Bluesman’s” plate: Fried Rice, BBQ Teriyaki Steak, Mixed Vegetable Tempura, Kimpira Gobo, Corned Beef Hash patty and Chow Funn (they spell it with two N’s). $5.50
My plate: Corned Beef Hash Patty, Shoyu Hot Dog, Mochi? Spring Roll, BBQ Teriyaki Chicken, Ume Musubi and Chow Funn. $6.09
I’m willing to bet either of these plates would have costed at least $2 more at Nuuanu, Fukuya or Gulick. All great places, but can prices can really add up.
Matsumoto’s value is hard to beat, but more importantly, the Okazuya items are all AWESOME. No complaints at all.
One noticeable quality they have is a grill that really sears and puts the BARBECUE in the BBQ meats. That Teriyaki Chicken with the sear marks and rich glaze was EXCEPTIONAL.
The most interesting item on my plate was that Spring Roll. The wrapper was made out of a sort of glutenous, stringy thing that had an interesting, chewy texture. It was filled with shrimp, and what looked like daikon and green onion. Sugoi oshii desu.
The corned beef hash was tasty. Not as good as Tanioka’s, but still oishii. The shoyu hot dog was your typical basic Okazuya affair. Take a nibble and chase it with the musubi. Oh yeah.
Just like the last time I tried, it, the Chow Funn. Oh the Chow Funn. This is what Okazuya is all about. Winner all the way. I’m going back here many times again just for that.
It’s certainly refreshing and a relief to know that the new generation is keeping the Okazuya tradition alive and well, thanks to up and coming greats such as Matsumoto’s!
Local Okazuya & Japanese Restaurant
1323 Gulick Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96817
Hours of operation:
Monday-Saturday (Sunday closed)