New eats: Kona Kai

I enjoy izakaya dining. Whether it’s a birthday celebration or drinks with the boys, an izakaya is always the perfect spot. Sharing a variety of dishes, sipping sake, swapping stories, all in a relaxed atmosphere — who could ask for a better time?

So when I heard that a new izakaya had opened with supposedly the best sushi in town, created by a chef who’s worked at some of Honolulu’s best sushi bars, I had to try it. You see, not only do I love izakaya, I’m also a sushi fanatic. Wherever a slab of raw fish has been draped over a mound of sushi rice, I’ve probably been there.

I couldn’t wait to get to Kona Kai. Here’s what I found.

Kona Kai

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Kona Kai can be easy to miss. It’s on the second floor of the two-story building next to Bubbie’s, upstairs from the Rock Bottom Bar. Enter the parking lot from Coyne Street and park in the back in between the building and Jiffy Lube.

Owner James Matsukawa opened the place in July. He previously worked at Sushi Sasabune, Tokkuri-Tei and Kohnotori, so he comes with proven training from some of the best. Matsukawa was also the chef at Umi no Sachi, a small sushi bar and izakaya in Kaimuki that got rave reviews during its short existence.

Sushi Izakaya Kona Kai
2535 Coyne St.