New restaurant: Hosojin Japanese Lamb BBQ
Lamb is a tough sell in Hawaii. It didn't take long for Jin Hosono, the chef/owner of Hosojin Japanese Lamb BBQ to realize that. There's only one protein on his menu, and it's written on his storefront: lamb.
Not only is there one meat on the menu, there's also only one preparation-style: jingisukan, which is the Japanese interpretation of Mongolian BBQ, named after Genghis Khan. This version is like yakiniku, but the tabletop grill is dome-like, and the server spreads the vegetables (bean sprouts, kabocha, carrot) around the perimeter and places the marinated lamb on the top of the dome.
Luckily for me, I love lamb. What some people call game-y, I call flavor.
There are three seasonings: "marinated," which is teriyaki-like; "herb," tinged with rosemary and served with a dipping dish of lemon juice and salt; "fresh," unseasoned, but comes with a thick shoyu and ginger dipping sauce. Herb is my pick. The set menu ($17.99) comes with some sides, including a refreshing cold tofu in a sesame vinaigrette. Vanilla ice cream ($4.50) in a pool of molasses-like syrup and dusted with kinako is a perfect end.
The backstory: Hosono used to be a sushi chef at Nobu, then spent some time in Taormina's kitchen before opening this tiny place as an ode to his hometown, Hokkaido. (Apparently, jingisukan is really popular there.) He plans to offer more meats soon, now that he knows people like me, who love lamb, are far and few between.