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AGU Ramen Waikiki Grand Opening

After about a month in soft opening mode since early this October, this past Wednesday evening, November 16, 2016, AGU Ramen officially celebrated the grand opening of its fifth location on Oahu in Waikiki. Situated on Kalakaua Avenue, right across the street from Hard Rock Cafe, AGU occupies the space that was formerly Ezogiku, another Japanese Ramen-Ya (shop).

AGU Ramen’s Waikiki grand opening event was invitation-only for family, friends, business associates and press media from both Hawaii and Japan. Upon which they introduced a number of new menu presentations, offering guests signature pupus, ramen and complimentary drinks, set to the backdrop of live ukulele performances by Honoka & Azita and Herb Ohta, Jr..

Also of note, being that AGU Ramen owner Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara is originally from Okinawa, there was a Okinawan Taiko Drum performance to start off the evening in the front of the restaurant on the sidewalk of Kalakaua Avenue, along with the requisite Shishi-Mai (Okinawan Lion Dance), which serves to ward off evil spirits and bring wealth and prosperity.

Following are video clips I shot (using my Note 5) of the Okinawan Taiko Drum and Shishi-Mai performance that was part of the opening for the event…

Next of course are comprehensive photos from the event. Enjoy. ;-)


The Priest with AGU Ramen owner and Chef Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara


Okinawan Taiko Drum Group


Shishi-Mai (Okinawan Lion Dance) to wish good fortune


The event door host and AGU Ramen owner and Chef Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara


AGU Ramen Waikiki dining room


AGU Ramen Waikiki dining room


AGU Ramen Waikiki dining room


Private dining room upstairs


Honoka & Azita jammin’ Ukes live at the Agu Ramen Waikiki grand opening


Makamae Kahawai and Nadine Kam get in for photo ops of AGU Ramen Waikiki’s new menu offering display


GYOZA: fresh house-made ground pork dumplings


GYOZA & KARAAGE CHICKEN pupu sampler


CHAR SIU CURRY CROQUETTE: Filled with potato, char siu, currry and cheese, served with yuzu aioli


CHAR SIU CURRY CROQUETTE: Filled with potato, char siu, currry and cheese, served with yuzu aioli


CHAHAN: Fried Rice using Char Siu (roast pork), Negi (green onion), Onion and Tamago (egg)


KIMCHI CHA HAN


CHAR SIU DONBURI


CHAR SIU DONBURI


KIMCHI “Mochimochi” YAKISOBA


KIMCHI “Mochimochi” YAKISOBA


“SKINNY” YAKISOBA


ORION PREMIUM DRAFT BEER, imported from Okinawa, Japan


CHILI CILANTRO JIDORI RAMEN: A light & refreshing Shio Jidori Ramen, piled high with fresh Cilantro, finished off with a dab of Thai Chili


SPICY NINNIKU MISO RAMEN: Rich Tonkotsu miso broth, combined with garlic butter, served with thick tan tan noodles and spice level choice of 1 to 5. Topped with ground pork miso, aji tamago, crunchy menma, fresh negi, sesame seeds and sweet corn


SPICY NINNIKU MISO RAMEN


SPICY NINNIKU MISO RAMEN “Money Shot”


AGU STYLE JIDORI PHO: AGU’s delicate Jidori broth cooked with Pho spices and enhanced with fresh Southeast Asian herbs, topped with char siu, ajitamago and moyashi


AGU STYLE JIDORI PHO


AGU STYLE JIDORI PHO

And? Well first of all, the only dish I didn’t get to try was the Gyoza and Karaage Chicken sampler, as I was too “busy” taking photos, famous last words. However from the feedback I got from others who did, it was overall “good”.

The Charsiu Chahan was “Bomb Dot Com”. Like, you could totally just order that and call it a day there. The Kimchi Chahan? Not my style, but hey, if you like Kimchi Fried Rice and spicy-hot food in general (as this was to me), it will probably suit you well.

The Croquette was also pretty much “Bomb Dot Com”, tasting like essentially a Coco Ichiban Curry ‘Katsu plate, all rolled up into one neat little ball.

Between the two Yakisoba dishes, which they wanted us to vote which was the best, I definitely preferred the “skinny” Yakisoba with the Beni Shoga, as, well? I LOVE Beni Shoga! More importantly, it tasted JAPANESE. Not Chinese. Not Korean, but Japanese, which is my favorite style of cuisine (sorry you other folks!). The “mochimochi” version that was “Kimchi-fied” was again, way too hot for my whoos-@ss palate. lol

Final-ree (finally), the ramen, where believe it or not, I actually opted for “non-ramen”! What? Yup, I went with the AGU-style Jidori PHO. Now, I know Vietnamese restaurants can pull off a MEAN Oxtail Soup, sort of reverse-engineering the Okinawan take on this classic “local” soup dish.

However, can Uchinanchu Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara truly pull off authentic Vietnamese PHO with a Nihongin twist to it? And my quick answer is both yes and no. First of all it was way too spicy hot, thanks in part I must admit to my own doing, as I added ALL the chili pepper condiments given on the side into my bowl. Secondly, the rice noodles were way overcooked, almost to the point of not being recognized as a noodle in texture.

Yet I’m not “hating” on them, as I understand their kitchen was pretty backed-up from the fully-booked crowd in the house for this grand opening event. Other than that, the Jidori-based PHO broth was pretty spot-on, while the slices of “meat”, which I couldn’t really tell whether it was pork or chicken, was VERY juicy and tender. Sugoi oishii yo!

Of course the bean sprouts, fresh basil, mint, cilantro and green onion are always a welcoming committee for me, which overall left me a happy camper. Would I order it again? Nah. Next time I’d go for something closer to home in the form of Shoyu Ramen, which I certainly will on a return visit.

Overall, there’s definitely promise here if you’re into “haute” ramen styles. I’m more traditional Tokyo style Shoyu Ramen, which I continue to seek “the one”. Famous last words, once again. So we’ll see in a return visit if AGU can meet my criteria in that regard. That said, make sure to check out the Yelp links below for many, many more opinions on AGU Ramen.

More photos from the AGU Ramen Waikiki grand opening…


Honoka & Azita with Herb Ohta, Jr.

A video clip I shot of Honoka & Azita jammin’ “Wipe Out” on the ‘ukes!…


Honoka & Azita


Event Host Sean Morris, Makamae Kahawai of Uprising Media (and FROLIC Hawaii + Standford & Kamehameha School Alumni… IMUA!) and Pomai Souza of The Tasty Island


Herb Ohta, Jr. and Pomai


Owner and Chef Hisashi ” Teddy” Uehara and Pomai at the AGU Ramen Waikiki grand opening ~ 11.16.16


Shishi-Mai (Okinawan Lion Dancer)


Okinawan Taiko Drum Group with owner and Chef Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara in the center and “Da’ Boss” next to him

Huge mahalos to owner and Chef Hisashi Uehara and the hard working Waikiki staff for your generosity and such an excellent presentation on grand opening night. You guys rocked the house!  Also huge mahalos to Honoka and Azita, who not only performed an AWESOME ukulele JAM, but also were truly first class young ladies we had the honor to share the dinner table with. Also to Herb Ohta, Jr. and his band for the “nahenahe” smooth Hawaiian music sounds that carried us throughout the rest of the evening. And of course Sean Morris for hosting yet another fantastic, well-organized press media foodie event. Looking forward to the next one coming soon!

AGU a ramen bistro Waikiki
2146 Kalakaua Avenue #101
Honolulu, Hawaii  96815

Open Sun-Thu 11am to 10pm, Fri & Sat 11am to 11pm

www.AguRamen.com


PRESS RELEASE

AGU A Ramen Bistro

98-027 Hekaha Street, #3, Aiea, Hawaii  96701 USA

Media Contact:  Sean M. Morris

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2016

AGU A RAMEN BISTRO’S GROWTH EXPOLODES WITH THE OPENING OF ITS FOURTH & FIFTH HAWAII LOCATIONS IN WAIKIKI AND PEARLRIDGE

 HONOLULU – AGU A Ramen Bistro’s popularity recently spurred the opening of two more locations in Hawaii to meet customer demands—one in Waikiki on Kalakaua Avenue, and another in Pearlridge Center’s Downtown.  The Waikiki location opened in October 2016, and Pearlridge earlier this month.  Coinciding with the opening of these locations, Agu A Ramen Bistro is also offering four new dishes—a char siu curry croquette, chili cilantro jidori ramen, spicy ninniku miso tonkotsu ramen, and a pho ramen.

The shop in Waikiki, across the Kalakaua Avenue from Hard Rock Café, will offer exclusive dishes only available at this location, namely yakimeshi (fried rice), kimchi yakimeshi, yakisoba (fried noodles), and kimchi yakisoba.  The Pearlridge location, on the other hand, will be the only location that boasts a full service bar, serving cocktails and hard liquors in addition to the wine and beer selections offered at the other locations.

To keep up with its constant innovation, Owner/Chef Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara will be introducing some new presentations.  The char siu curry croquette ($7.00) takes diced house-made char siu and incorporates them into a mashed potato mixture which is deep fried to a golden brown, and served with a yuzu aioli.  The chili cilantro jidori ramen ($16.00), which was recently introduced, uses the jidori chicken soup as its base, but adds touches of piquancy with jalapeno and a fresh herbaceous aromatic with the inclusion of Chinese parsley.  Also, since AGU A Ramen Bistro is known for its rich, savory tonkotsu (pork-based broth), a spicy ninniku tonkotsu ramen ($18.00) adds bold garlicky notes to spicy yet sweet miso flavors incorporated into the creamy broth.  Finally, the pho ramen (to be determined), will present a fusion of Vietnamese and Japanese influences, using a jidori chicken broth but rice-based pho noodles in lieu of the egg-based noodles often found in ramen.

“Ramen has become a worldwide phenomenon, with shops emerging all over the globe, from New York to Paris.  As everyone becomes familiar with the traditional salt, shoyu, miso and tonkotsu broths, we feel we need to strive to change the landscape and engage our discerning diners,” says Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara, Owner/Chef.  “People love classics but yet also want diversity, so we are prepared to constantly deliver that, while challenging our abilities and imagination.”

AGU A Ramen Bistro operates five locations throughout Oahu.  AGU A Ramen Bistro in Waikiki is located at 2146 Kalakaua Avenue, #101.  It is open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.  AGU A Ramen Bistro at Pearlridge Center is at 98-1005 Moanalua Road, #545, and is open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight on Friday and Saturday.


AGU RAMEN FACTS

 BUSINESS:                            AGUPlus LLC, dba AGU a Ramen Bistro

 WEBSITE:                              www.aguramen.com

 SOCIAL MEDIA:                   Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AGURAMEN

                                                Twitter:  @agu_ramen

Instagram:  @aguramenbistro

CREDIT CARDS:                  Visa, MasterCard, JCB, American Express, Discover

 OWNER:                                Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara

ESTABLISHED:                    October 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii by Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara

 OFFICE:                                 98-027 Hekaha Street, #3 Aiea, Hawaii  96701
Phone:  (808) 457-1135

LOCATIONS:                       

[ORIGINAL LOCATION]

AGU Ramen at Saint Louis Alumni

Association

925 Isenberg Street

Honolulu, Hawaii  96826

Phone:  (808)

Business hours:  Mon-Thu, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.; Fri-Sun, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

AGU Ramen at Ward Centre

1200 Ala Moana Blvd Ste 657

Honolulu, Hawaii  96814

Phone:  (808)

Business hours:  Sun-Thu, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00

p.m.; Fri & Sat, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

AGU Ramen at Kapolei Marketplace

590 Farrington Hwy, Suite 510

Kapolei, Hawaii  96707

Phone:  (808)

Business hours:  Sun-Thu, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00

p.m.; Fri & Sat, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

AGU Ramen in Waikiki

2146 Kalakaua Ave #101

Honolulu, Hawaii  96815

Phone:  (808)

Business hours:  Sun-Thu, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00

p.m.; Fri & Sat, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

AGU Ramen at Pearlridge Center

98-1005 Moanalua Rd #545

Aiea, Hawaii  96701

Phone:  (808)

Business hours:  Sun-Thu, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00

p.m.; Fri & Sat, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Plus three locations in Houston, Texas (opening

this Fall/Winter)

 

HISTORY:  Not long ago, a group of savvy business partners sat together enjoying a beer and doodling ideas on their cocktail napkins. In 2013, their collective dream of a high-end ramen house became reality when AGU a Ramen Bistro opened with fanfare at its first location at the Saint Louis Alumni Association. A recipe for instant success, more AGU locations sprang up on Oahu over the next couple of years — at Ward Centre, and Kapolei Marketplace.

Now with two new locations in Waikiki and Pearlridge Center, to help facilitate this rapid growth, the AGU Magic Kitchen opened as a central place where all of the stocks are cooked for all of the restaurants. It also serves as a sort of culinary workshop where AGU’s driving force and visionary, Chef Hisashi conjures up new menu ideas.
 

EATERY CONCEPT:  Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara, Executive Chef and Owner, named his premier amen bistros, “AGU” which means “fellowship” or “best friends” in Miyako, his native Okinawa dialect.  Every day, more than 1,500 pounds of pork bones are slowly boiled at an extremely high heat for over 24 hours in order to create AGU’s signature, creamy yet hearty, tonkotsu broth. The resulting enticing rich flavor speaks of the love that goes into every bowl.  Tonkotsu ramen is considered by many to be the “king of ramen.”

All of the soups and dishes served at AGU are made with only the freshest, exceptional ingredients. The rich, clear chicken broth is made using organic, cage-free Jidori chicken that has been raised on a vegetarian diet. The noodles are made fresh daily from a special house recipe. However good ingredients are not enough to create AGU’s specialty soups and dishes. The chefs are dedicated to preparing each item with perfection, patience and a little extra aloha.

SPECIAL SERVICES:           Private dining room with capacity of up to 16 people in Waikiki location

                                                Full bar available at Pearlridge location

KEY STAFF:                          Owner/Chef:  Hisashi “Teddy” Uehara, General Manager (Waikiki):  Rika Takahashi


Related links:
AGU Ramen Isenberg Street (original location) – Yelp
AGU Ramen Kapolei – Yelp
AGU Ramen Ward Centre – Yelp
AGU Ramen Waikiki – Yelp
Honoka & Azita – official website
Herb Ohta, Jr. – official website
• The Tasty Island – Oh, try wait, you already stay hea’ah! lol

The Tasty island related links:
Ganso Ramen
Gifu Takayama Ramen
Gomaichi Ramen
Goma Tei Ramen
Gyoza No Osho Ramen
Hokkaido Ramen Tokachiya
IchiBen Ramen
Japanese Ramen Kai
Junpuu Ramen
• Kiwami Ramen
Menchanko-Tei Ramen
Menya Shokudo Ramen
Myojo Chukanzanmai Ramen
Nama Ramen
The Ramen Girl (a movie review)
Ramen Quest Chapter 1
Ramen Quest Chapter 2
Ramen Quest Chapter 3
Ramen Quest Chapter 4
Ramen Nakamura
Ramen Noodle Burger Matsufujiya
Shinsen Ramen
Sumo Ramen
Taiyo Ramen
Tenkaippin Ramen
Tokyo Noodle House
Yamachan Ramen
Yama-Arashi Ramen
Yotteko-Ya Ramen

8 thoughts on “AGU Ramen Waikiki Grand Opening

  • November 18, 2016 at 8:23 pm
    Permalink

    Small portions, big price, average taste.

    Reply
  • November 19, 2016 at 4:33 am
    Permalink

    Pomai, how Okinawan are the food?  They should have some special type

    of dishes that Okinawan and desserts too.

    Reply
  • November 19, 2016 at 4:53 am
    Permalink

    @ Amy – Well, they have Okinawan Rafute Donburi and Buta Yakisoba; the latter of which was served to us, which I much preferred over the Kimchi Yakisoba. Yakisoba is definitely an Okinawan dish.I do agree though, they should feature more dishes specific to Okinawa, like their take on Goya Champuru. How about a Goya Champuru Ramen? Can? No can?

    Interestingly, they don’t have any dessert, which I think the ladies that evening were a bit perplexed by. Who’s with me for Okinawan Pork Belly Ice Cream?

    @ Molly – Not just here, but all around, the price of Ramen has really gone up in the past few years. Before we know it, the average price will be near $20 a bowl. Good thing we have the next best thing at a fraction of the price: Nama Ramen from the supermarket! Sun Noodle FTW!

    Reply
    • November 19, 2016 at 2:04 pm
      Permalink

      Mochi with sweet potato filling is good,

      Reply
      • November 19, 2016 at 3:08 pm
        Permalink

        Amy,

        EXCELLENT idea! Okinawan Sweet Potato Ice Cream, Gelato or Sorbet would also be a good dessert. Or thinking WAY outside the box, perhaps something like an “Awamori Truffle Flan”.

        Reply
  • November 23, 2016 at 6:09 am
    Permalink

    Mmm, they should make Umukuji for dessert.  I love those!  Another blast from the past with this post. I knew Sean Morris when he was just a little boy.  His half-sister was a friend of mine and I would spend time with the family.  He’s all grown up now!

    Reply
    • November 24, 2016 at 9:46 pm
      Permalink

      Shevon,

      I had to Google “Umukuji”, and see it’s a Sweet Potato Tempura. There’s an Okazuya in Kalihi named Mitsuba that makes this awesome Sweet Potato Crumble, sort of like a jacked-up Manju…


      Mitsuba Sweet Potato Crumble

      Next time I see Sean (next week) I’ll ask if he knows or remembers someone named Shevon. He’s a super nice and akamai guy. Speaks fluent Japanese. Went to McKinley High School.

      Reply
  • November 28, 2016 at 8:26 am
    Permalink

    The umukuji I am used to is not a tempura with a thick batter.  It’s more like a fried mochi-ish thing.  Looks more like this picture.

    http://okinawaclip.com/en/detail/23

    And, yes, tell Sean I said hi.  He probably doesn’t remember me because he was so little.  Tell him I am Allison’s (his half siste) friend.

     

    Reply

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