When Son and I booked our trip to Hawaii, we knew that in addition to trying all the best local food, we wanted to have sushi. Lots of sushi. There are many other sushi restaurants we are looking to try (one can never have too much sushi) but since it is close to our hotel, we decided to try Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar first.
We decided to get a table outside, which was wonderful. Amazing view of the sunset, warm but not too hot, and mostly quiet. Our waiter was fantastic – always knew when we needed a water refill or our next course, but was never overbearing or in the way. As our meal, we decided on the Chef?s Omakase Tasting Menu for Two. At only $75 and including everything we would have ordered, we found it to be a great choice.
The first dish out were our miso soups. The soup was nicely flavored, had a sufficient but not overwhelming amount of seaweed in the bottom, and included many small cubes of tofu. It was a bit salty, but both Son and I love salty flavors so we both enjoyed the soup.
Our first course consisted of the Sansei Special Roll and Sansei-Style Poke, accompanied by a bowl of edamame. The Special Roll was made up of spicy crab, cilantro, cucumber and avocado dusted with furikake and accompanied by a sweet Thai chili sauce not unlike the one I used on the last sushi I made at home. We both adored the roll, although I found it to be spicy – almost too spicy. The furikake on the outside was an excellent addition, and the sweet chili sauce added a wonderful sweetness to the roll.
The poke was composed of ahi tuna, salmon, tako (octopus), sweet Maui onions, wakame, and kaiware sprouts, in a spicy poke sauce. I found this to be delicious, although Son undoubtedly enjoyed it more. It was not spicy, but rather tasted of shoyu and sesame oil. Son would not have changed a thing about the poke, but I was displeased to find the sauce masked the fresh flavor that I enjoy so much in the tuna.
After the first course, we could already feel ourselves filling up. Had we known before-hand that we would be eating a three-course dinner, we would have definitely eaten considerably less during the day. Our second course consisted of mostly fried foods, so we tried to take it easy on our stomachs and not finish every last piece of each dish. For course number two, we received Panko-crusted Fresh Ahi Sashimi, Japanese Calamari Salad, and Asian Shrimp Cake. Of those three, the Asian Shrimp Cake was easily our favorite: a black tiger shrimp cake crusted with crispy Chinese noodles, served with a ginger-lime-chili-butter and cilantro pesto and topped with two miso marinated shrimp. Just the Chinese noodles eaten with the sauce were amazing. Sweet, crunchy, yum. I wasn’t a huge fan of the actual shrimp cake, but Son adored it.
The calimari salad was amazing as well. This consisted of “Calamari fritti tossed in spicy kochujang vinaigrette served over Kula greens in a crispy won ton basket” The vinaigrette had the flavor of a sweetened cocktail sauce, but wasn’t at all thick. It clung perfectly to the calimari. We did not eat all the calmiari, but had the entire course not been fried and if we didn’t have a third course to look forward to, we would have easily finished it.
The last dish in the second course was our least favorite dish of the night. We found the Panko-crusted Fresh Ahi Sashimi – fresh Island yellowfin tuna wrapped with arugula, and flash fried topped with a soy wasabi butter sauce – to be too bitter. Considering the other two dishes were both sweet, the bitterness of the arugula was too sharp on our tongues. The ahi, however, was soft, melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and dipping it in the soy wasabi butter sauce was amazing. Anyone who doesn’t mind bitter foods would probably love this.
Normally, we would have stopped at this point in our meal. (Actually, we would have stopped after just the first course – we were already stuffed by then!) We did our best to save room for the last course, and oh my goodness are we glad we did. This was by far our favorite course of the evening. This last course included Matsuhisa-Style Miso Butterfish and Lobster & Blue Crab Ravioli. The former was Son’s favorite dish of the night, the latter my own favorite. We could have easily had an amazing dinner with just these two dishes.
When Son tried the miso butterfish – butterfish marinated and seared in sake and sweet miso – he commented that it made him think of bread, but he couldn’t figure out why. I gave him a bit of a confused look, until I tried it myself. “Hawaiian bread.” “Yes!” Imagine the sweet, buttery taste of Hawaiian bread, and then apply that taste to smooth, melt-in-your-mouth fish. I believe I only got a bite or two out of the entire dish – Son couldn’t stop eating it.
Just as Son adored the miso butterfish, I fell in love with the ravioli. These were ravioli stuffed with sweet lobster, blue crab, and shrimp in a rich truffle butter sauce. Oh, that sauce. Even after I finished the ravioli, I couldn’t stop dipping into that amazing truffle butter sauce. Quite frankly, to heck with the Lobster and Blue Crab ravioli. I found the lobster and crab filling to be unenjoyable – it seemed to me that they overcooked the seafood. Yech. Just give me the pasta covered in that sauce… I’ll die happy. Buttery, rich, slightly earthy in such a perfect way… Son had better watch out – I may have found a new love. 😉
Overall, this was an amazing, delicious, romantic meal with a great view of the ocean. The street down below is filled with little shops – a perfect place to walk off the big meal.
Sushi isn’t the only thing I’ve eaten while on vacation! Want to know about my other delicious meals? Hop on over to my new blog, where I’ll be writing all week about non-sushi meals that I eat here.