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Noodle Tuesday: Mimasuya


Uni pasta

The barrel-aged Negroni is one of the (few) highlights at Mimasuya. It’s normally aged 10 days; the particular batch we’re drinking from has been hanging out in a barrel for over a hundred, according to our server. I suspect it’s not because Mimasuya is interested in mellowing the gin-vermouth-Campari cocktail to the perfect roundness, but that it’s been pretty slow ever since the restaurant opened at the end of last year. It’s in Uraku Tower, where neither the combination of Donato Loperfido and Philippe Padovani, nor each on his own, could make the space work for much longer than a year.

And from the looks of it, Mimasuya may not either. Cursed with slow nights, the staff had been stripped to a “skeleton crew,” according to our over-sharing server.

Parma ham "peperoncino"

I can see why it’s slow: The pastas aren’t very compelling, from the uni pasta ($24) that somehow tastes more of sauce swiped from mac ‘n’ cheese than uni, to the Parma ham pasta ($16), the prosciutto too salty and cut too thick.

“I could make this at home,” a friend says, pulling on strands of slightly overcooked store-bought spaghetti. I think she’d actually do better. Sure, Italian food is about simplicity, but it’s also about ingredients impeccably prepared and sourced. I’m not sure that’s the case here.

As an Italian restaurant by way of Kyoto, Japanese influences crept into a kaiseki-meets-Italian presentation of assorted appetizers ($28): ten bites, beautifully presented, ranging from pretty good (prosciutto-wrapped mango, seared scallops) to ho-hum (dry slices of cold, curried chicken) to inedible (gorgonzola on stale toast). Better, though less visually dazzling: the deep-fried yuba-wrapped "crab cakes," presented like spring rolls. The tempura batter overwhelmed the delicate yuba, though the crunchy contrast between it and the sweet crab stuffed inside justified this inspired treatment. 

The highlights were at the beginning (the cocktails) and the end, with a kabocha flan that our server took off our check because he felt he had “pressured us into it.” He hadn’t, and it was one of the best things we had all night: smooth and rich with kabocha’s sweet earthiness.

1341 Kapiolani Blvd., Ste 101, 951-9000, mimasuyaitaliano.com

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