Rinka, Honolulu

Rinka
Rinka is an excellent, authentic Japanese restaurant in Ala Moana area of Honolulu with a varied washoku menu. You can get izakaya fare, nabe, shabu shabu, kamameshi, sushi (including bozushi), inaniwa udon, steak in demi glace, etc; even chirashi and teishoku sets for lunch. This is our 3rd visit for dinner and it’s now our go-to for excellent, comforting food. The one thing they don’t really do is robatayaki, which is fine, because the only difficulty there will be not knowing how to limit your order.

Their tsukemono is pitch perfect - with a gentle nukazuke brine that preserves the natural flavor of each pickle. This picture below is from a previous visit; but this time they had delicious myoga (last of the season) and gari, which was a perfect opening and even palette cleanser through the meal.

We started with another palette opener: tako sunomono with cucumber, wakame, and ikura with dashi jelly (vinegared octopus salad). The tender octopus was nice with the toothsome kelp, and the contrast between the cucumber crunch and dashi jelly kept things interesting.

Karei no usuzukuri with caviar, yuzukosho, and lime (fluke carpaccio) was clean with a nice spicy lift. The “caviar” didn’t add much, except more for visual contrast to the translucent whitefish.

Renkon manjyu in ankakae sauce (shrimp-filled lotus root dumpling with kuzuko-thickened sauce).

Awabi korroke (abalone croquette with seafood and shiitake, with tonkatsu sauce). Really crunchy exterior, “hagotai” (pleasant chew) from the abalone and shiitake, and a creamy bechamel inside. This is like the most delicious sweet and sour chicken nugget (to put it in comfort food terms)!

Agedashi dofu (fried tofu)

Iwashi furai (fried sardines with tartar sauce)

Gindara no Saikyo miso yaki (broiled miso black cod marinated in Saikyo miso paste)

Tempura moriawase (tempura combination)

Filet steak with onion demi glace, onion rings and zucchini

It doesn’t look like much but it was delicious!

Tori tsukune nabe (chicken meatball hot pot with mushrooms, tofu, and watercress). With a deep, smokey, and pure chicken soup base, sweetness from the watercress, and pleasant chew of the eriingi, enoki, and shiitake mushrooms…the humble tsukune hotpot is probably my favorite dish here!

and some nice items from a previous visit just before:

Kona abalone ready for shabu shabu

Anago hakozushi (saltwater sea eel box-pressed sushi, Osaka style)

The patrons are almost exclusively Japanese speaking, but you will get along very easily speaking English. They have a nicely priced teishoku (individual set course) lunch menu. There’s a course menu for dinner in the ~$60 range, but we always end up doing a la carte. The website has the menu, but a lot of the best items are on the daily specials menu.

Rinka
1500 Kapiolani Blvd. A102
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 941-5159

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W.O.W.
:heart_eyes: