Sometimes you can’t decide where you want to go for dinner.
That’s when a collaborative dining experience – a restaurant featuring items from various restaurants – might come in handy.
Upstairs Waikīkī It’s exactly that. Its menu combines specialties from two notable Japanese restaurants in Honolulu – Sushi Sho and Hachibei – with its own signature dishes.
The restaurant opened on October 1 in the space vacated by Bills Hawaiʻi, the Waikīkī version of Australia’s popular breakfast spot. Tokyo-based Sunny Side Up had brought the Australian concept to O’ahu and, when it closed, ended up with a cavernous space on Beach Walk in Waikīkī. CEO Norihito Watanabe approached Keiji Nakazawa of Sushi Sho at the nearby Ritz-Carlton Waikīkī and Kazunori Yashima of Yakitori Hachibei in Chinatown with the idea of creating a collaborative menu using some of their signature dishes alongside original dishes from the restaurant.
The result is innovative to say the least.
The space resembles a cabin, with vaulted ceilings, dark woods, focused lighting, and huge windows overlooking Beach Walk. It is spacious but manages to feel intimate at the same time.
Some of the dishes borrowed from both restaurants include Hachibei’s fried chicken, oyakodon with simmered chicken and eggs over rice, and chicken ramen served in a fun ceramic dish shaped like an instant ramen bowl; and Sushi Sho’s popular bara chirashi, which consists of various cuts of sashimi, eggs, and shellfish dried Edomae-style, then layered on top of seasoned sushi rice with thin strands of fried egg.
Hachibei’s toromono is actually exclusive to Upstairs Waikīkī: this dish features an oven-roasted Jidori chicken thigh that is crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside. (These aren’t the most photogenic dishes, but this was easily one of my favorites.)
But Upstairs Waikīkī also offers its own dishes, including the Buddha Bowl (with tofu nuggets, beet hummus, avocado, assorted vegetables and multigrain rice), kimchi fried rice topped with a local egg. and LA kalbi (marinated prime rib served with spicy kimchi).
For lovers of non-Japanese cuisine, the restaurant offers a tasty beef and pork burger, garnished with sautéed mushrooms, onions, sliced tomatoes, bacon and tomato jam; a falafel sandwich with marinated daikon (radish) and carrot, pesto and sweet chili sauce; and rigatoni carbonara with pancetta. Dinner entrees range from $ 14 to $ 35.
We also enjoyed the island potato salad, a typical potato salad but with kālua pig and a local egg. It was surprisingly delicious.
The drink menu offers a wide selection of sakes and an assortment of well-crafted cocktails and mocktails. (You can even order smoothies.) We enjoyed the Mai Tai Beachwalk with pineapple infused rum; Surfin ’75 with gin, yuzu, lemongrass syrup and sparkling wine; and the refreshing Jade Garden with sake, basil, cucumber, lemongrass syrup and lime. (You can also add alcohol to any of the mocktails, for your reference.)
The two desserts served by the restaurant were both addicting: coconut pudding with pineapple and chia coulis, and strawberry granita with strawberry compote, vanilla ice cream and condensed milk. Gone in seconds.
If you love Japanese food – or maybe you’ve always wanted to try Sushi Sho or Hachibei – love sake and just want to kick back and relax, this place has it all. Parking can get expensive – we stayed longer than the two hour checkout it offers in the parking lot across the street at Bank of Hawai’i – it’s $ 3 every 30 minutes after that – and we ended up paying $ 12. But it was easier than going to two different restaurants in one night.
On the Waikīkī Floor, 280 Beach Walk, Waikikī. Open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday, upstairshawaii.com.