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Kin Chan Sushi, a tiny Honolulu sushi bar


So we don't have a Jiro.

But Honolulu does have some great hidden little sushi bars. Add Kin Chan Sushi to the list, recommended to me by a reader. Without his recommendation, I probably would never have come across this sushi bar, hidden in Restaurant Row. The place is so small that a discussion between a dermatologist and plastic surgeon ends up involving the rest of the diners in this 12-seat sushi bar. (They are mostly seeking skincare tips. Here's one: always wash your face with cold water.)

There's just one sushi chef, an assistant, and a waitress, who speaks to the Japanese sushi chef in Chinese because it's easier for both than English.

The omakase starts with a salad and ahi sashimi dressed with ponzu, raw onions and radish sprouts and progresses through tender abalone and buttery soft misoyaki butterfish. Then there's fresh, gorgeously thick slices of hotate (scallop), amaebi (raw sweet shrimp) and otoro (choice, super fatty tuna belly) for nigiri, aji (Japanese mackerel) with a bit of green onions and grated fresh ginger. There isn't a single bite that disappoints. Even dessert, often a throwaway in sushi bars, is a delight: jelly-like mochi dumplings filled with custard, wrapped in leaves that impart a fresh, green fragrance. 

Nigiri sushi: $3.50 (tamago) to $11 (uni), chirashi: $19 to $30, omakase $60 and up
Kin Chan Sushi, 500 Ala Moana Blvd, 534-0088

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