Izakaya Uosan is located on Kapiolani Boulevard directly across from Inspiration Interiors and two doors down from Gyu Kaku. Our neighbor, who is originally from Japan, raved about the place. She said this izakaya (casual Japanese pub) was the most authentic she had experienced in Honolulu.
As you enter the small restaurant, you hear the welcome called out by the staff. The room is dimly lit, except for the sushi bar, and furnished with dark-colored furniture. If I recall correctly, there are less than ten tables, and there is also a private room that seats eight in the Japanese-style with a low table and recessed floor beneath so that people can stretch their legs.
Our party of four made reservations to sit at the bar, which has eight chairs, so that we could get the full experience of service from the highly-skilled and attentive sushi chef, Nobu, and the very-capable waitstaff. From my seat I could watch Nobu’s tedious preparations of the fresh-fish masterpieces.
Our friends suggested that we order the omakase. “Omakase is the Japanese tradition of letting a chef choose your order. The word means ‘I will leave it to you.’ It’s a fine tradition that gives the chef creative freedom and the customer a memorable dining experience” (from Japan Talk).
That’s an easy way to go. You don’t have to think about what to order and know that you are getting the freshest of ingredients and something the chef is proud to present. Just sit back, relax, and get ready for every delectable surprise.
The bi-lingual menu is extensive, but I’m sorry to say that because we knew beforehand that we were ordering the omakase, I didn’t even glance at the food menu. Since our visit, however, I have viewed the menu on Yelp and have already determined what I will order on my next visit. We got a bottle of sake, going with our server’s recommendation. It was pricey at $134, but we certainly enjoyed it. No disappointment there.
Our food. Wow! I’ve never had such an array of delicacies. Each dish arrived with impeccable timing. The art of presentation was impressive. Each new indulgence hit my palate with a distinct experience. The fish, especially the otoro, practically melted in my mouth. I even loved the uni (sea urchin), which I thought I didn’t care for from a previous experience. After many courses (I lost count) the chef asks if you want to continue. You say when you’ve had enough.
Izakaya Uosan is expensive. We were here for Mother’s Day, and for this special occasion we were prepared to open our wallets. Minus the price of the bottle of sake, our omakase came out to about $120 per person (not including gratuity). But if you order off the menu, then you have control of what you are willing to spend. I can’t wait to go back and try more of the menu offerings. Reservations are highly recommended.