In my opinion, sushi is a delicate food. Well, that was my opinion until I dined at Japengo. As an appetizer, I had a tootsie roll. No, it’s not the childhood chocolate candy we remember as the leftover treat from your Halloween candy bag. Japengo’s tootsie roll (see right) consists of soft shell crab, snow crab, avocado, shiitake mushroom, and lobster teriyaki. This specialty roll should have came with a warning: Love at first bite, proceed to the next course if you dare.
I’m no coward, so it was on to the next one with the Singaporean crab. The dish had a sweet gazpacho base that was accompanied by a bit of heat. The house made rolls diluted the spice. The rolls had a doughy texture, and were shaped like cinnabons. As a side dish, I had a small helping of the fried rice. This was a nice touch, and added some vegetables to my entrée.
After a few shots of knockout sake, I attacked my next animal-the emperor prime sirloin. The meat was smothered in sauce, and accompanied by a bowl of white rice. Japengo managed to complicate a simple sirloin, with homemade sauce. Admittedly, this was not my favorite entrée, but hey, this isn’t a steakhouse.
On the other side of the scale, is my absolute favorite: the scallop butter yaki. Topped with black caviar the scallops fall apart with a simple slice of a fork. You can taste the richness of the butter, as it melts in your mouth. Although delicious, be sure to check your teeth for stray eggs, as it could create an uncomfortable situation between you and your company (not that I would know).
A long time ago, I convinced myself I was a bottomless pit. Needless to say, it was time for dessert! Chef Michael Imada (my new hero) kindly created a sampler of all the desserts featured on his menu. The sampler had Coconut crème brule, chocolate profiteroles, Kona coffee chocolate ganache cake, aassorted mochi ice cream and potato cheesecake.
Japengo is located on the third floor of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, located at 2424 Kalakaua Avenue. Reservations are available at 808-237-4180. Intimate seating for two is available, as well as, communal tables, group and private dining. Aside from regular dining hours, Japengo transforms into an after hours lounge on Saturday nights.