Before eating at Doraku, I enjoyed sushi, but my familiarity with it was limited to the California Roll and Shrimp Tempura Roll found at J Street, GW’s dining hall. I’m timid about seafood, and especially raw (or somewhat raw?) seafood. Doraku opened my eyes to the world of sushi beyond the two rolls I knew, and now I’ve been more adventurous with my sushi choices.
Doraku is located in a mall on the heart of the Waikiki strip: Kalakaua Avenue. If you’ve never been to Honolulu, I highly recommend going there. The city has the beaches and nature you’re looking for from a Hawaiian vacation, but it’s also a metropolis, so once the nature gets boring, you still have things to do! Honolulu is truly a crossroads between Asia and the United States. Most international tourists who visit Hawaii come from Japan, so the cultural influence is apparent, especially in the food!
The Geisha Roll ($11.75) consisted of spicy tuna, sisho leaf, pickled radish, kaiware sprouts (a.k.a. daikon) and kabayaki sauce. The roll was spicy, but I noted that there was cream cheese in the roll that helped cool it down. Considering the cream cheese is not listed on the menu, I don’t know where I got this idea and whether or not it was actually there…
The White Dragon Roll ($13.50) was filled with shrimp tempura and avocado, and topped with hamachi (a Japanese fish), unagi sauce, ao nori (a.k.a. seaweed), garlic aioli and garlic chips. I’m a fan of shrimp tempura, so I really enjoyed this roll. It had a creamy texture overall.
Next was the Emperor Roll ($13.95), which was made of tuna, salmon, crab, shrimp, scallop and avocado inside the roll. The roll was then covered in bread crumbs and flash fried. The sushi was served over tempura onions and a spring mix salad, and topped with aioli sauce. Despite all of the fancy treatment, I preferred the previous two rolls.
Last was the Surf and Turf Roll ($16.95). It was filled with cucumber, shrimp and asparagus and topped with rare tenderloin, garlic aioli, chili sauce, ponzu sauce, kabayaki sauce and ao nori. I was not a fan of this sushi. I think I was really just uncomfortable with the virtually raw beef. However, the smoky flavor of the tenderloin was good.
Overall, the sushi reached a crescendo very early on. I liked the first two rolls (Geisha and White Dragon) the best. The subsequent rolls did not impress me. However, I’m glad I branched out with sushi because now I’m more open to trying different kinds.
The meal had a happy ending with tasty desserts!
The Banana Ice Cream Flambé ($7.95) was cooked in Gran Marnier and served with vanilla ice cream, honey, chocolate syrup and macadamia nuts (a Hawaiian specialty).
As a fan of hot and cold sweets, this dessert really hit the spot.
The Fried Ice Cream was an impressive site. It was basically a snowball of ice cream, surrounded in pound cake and garnished with pineapple and strawberries. It looked better than it tasted however; the pound cake was pretty yeasty and simple tasting.
Here are some photos of Doraku’s decor:
THE BOTTOM LINE:
2233 Kalakaua Ave (Waikiki)
Honolulu, HI 96815