Tsukada Nojo, the popular izakaya chain from Japan recently opened its first Hawaii location near the Hawaii Convention Center earlier this month. In staying true to its name (Tsukada being an area in Miyazaki, Kyushu, and “nojo” meaning “farm”), the restaurant introduces its concept, which fuses Japanese modern sensibilities with Farm-to-Table showcasing locally-sourced ingredients.
The cuisine is chicken and vegetable-centric, with the menu broken down into seven major categories: hot pots, small cold plates, small hot plates, salads, large plates, rice & ramen, and desserts. Under hot pots, several versions of the chicken-based bijin nabe (or beautiful person hot pot) include the original with chicken and vegetable, a spicy rendition, a beef sukiyaki, a lemon cilantro, and a tomato version—all collagen-rich to enhance the skin’s elasticity for a more youthful complexion. Under small cold plates, popular presentations are chicken veggie tacos, hamachi jalapeno, and poke and cucumber tataki. Small hot plates comprise of dishes as the chicken mentai (spcy cod roe) spring rolls, shiitake nanban (deep-fried shiitake stuffed with minced chicken), and grilled skillet egg with unagi and cream cheese. Salads offer added fresh approaches along the lines of a kale and smoked chicken Caesar, an unagi chopped salad, and a salmon and mango salad. Large plates incorporate more beef, featuring items as steak with jalapeno miso, tomato hamburger steak, and steak roll with kale. Rice and ramen round out the savory, featuring options brimming with umami such as a veggie miso ramen, chicken paitan tan tan spicy miso ramen, and unagi kabayaki fried rice. To conclude, desserts tempt the palate with a matcha berry tiramisu, golden pineapple mitsumame, and a few shave ice bowls with mixed fruits and mochi hidden in a ball of finely shaved ice, with ice cream, apricots, and black beans arranged to resemble the face of a teddy bear.
The dishes at Tsukada Nojo as prepared by Executive Chef Shingo Sato incorporates island-grown ingredients whenever possible. Besides the fresh chilled chicken from Punachicks, the produce is sourced from over a dozen other farms on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai, including Aloun Farms, Maui Farmers’ Cooperative Exchange, and Kaneshiro Farms. The result is a series of contemporary Japanese dishes that are vibrant in color and bursting with local freshness.
The two-story restaurant is located in a new building located on Kalakaua Avenue, across the street from Century Center. Jointly conceived by Naoto Adachi and Naoya Noguchi, two interior designers of Design Office, the 3,600-square foot space features farmhouse natural wood furnishings blended with metal industrial accents, such as antique factory-style pendant lighting with exposed bulbs. Old recycled wood, grey concrete slates, brick, and terra cotta tiles add textural diversity to the earth-toned space, and elevating consciousness of multi-faceted design. A full bar made of wood on one end faces opposite of a stainless steel open kitchen, with round tables and wooden chairs with burnished metals being interspersed in between. Large, solid wood communal tables and open-faced banquette-style seating make for a more social atmosphere. High vaulted ceilings accentuate the open space, leading the gaze upwards to the second floor where a loft equipped with a state-of-the-art projector and sound system makes for a perfect private function space.
“We want to bring a new perspective to the popular Japanese izakaya concept by infusing freshness,” says Shingo Sato, Executive Chef. “People are savvier about sustainability, regional sourcing, and natural ingredients, so we want to give them what they seek. The farmer’s table is designed to give our patrons the impression as if they were literally dining at a farmer’s home, replete with freshly grown produce and responsibly raised livestock.”
Tsukada Nojo is located at 1731 Kalakaua Avenue, in a brand new two-story building near the Hawaii Convention Center. The restaurant is currently operating under its soft opening hours (to , from with last call at , with weekday lunch service commencing on ), but after , it will be open daily for lunch from , and for dinner from on Monday through Thursday, from and , and from . For more information, please call (808) 951-4444.