Two-Minute Takeout: Koko I-naba Hawai‘i Kai
The opening menu is small, but this new outpost is serving up some of your favorite bowls from the original Restaurant I-naba.
It’s a delicious landscape out there! We’re bringing back our Two-Minute Takeout video series with all-new episodes about dishes from new-to-us places and longtime faves.
King Street has been home to I-naba Honolulu for over 15 years. On Oct. 1, the restaurant known for its handmade soba, udon, sushi, chirashi and tempura opened its newest location in Koko Marina Center behind Kokonuts. Koko I-naba Hawai‘i Kai’s dining room is small and intimate with the same traditional Japanese sensibilities, including counter seating.
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It’s takeout only for now with a limited menu, though you can direct-message the restaurant’s Instagram to special-order sashimi platters. As with I-naba’s two other locations, seafood comes fresh from Japan. The pared-down menu may have some of your King Street favorites on it—I was thrilled to find one of mine, the hotate, ikura and uni bowl ($28) with its generous portion of sweet sliced scallop, creamy uni and flavorful ikura. The sushi rice has a beautiful texture with a nice balance of vinegar and sugar and a dollop of fragrant wasabi on the side. Bowls come with a half-size of simple kake (hot) or zaru (cold) soba; these can be upgraded to the larger size. The handmade soba is hearty and satisfying as usual, pairing nicely with the sauce and grounding the meal.
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For those of us on the Windward side, an addition of this caliber to our food scene is extremely exciting. I’ll definitely be back to see how the menu offerings evolve. For now, online ordering is quick and easy, ending with a full belly and a big smile.
Open Thursday to Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy, @kokoinaba_hawaiikai