This past Saturday we went out looking for a late lunch. Really late. It was about 4pm. Anyway, I did not know this restaurant, but Kelli saw it before and suggested we try it so we did.
It is a restaurant on University Avenue in the Puck's Alley complex. The front looks like this photo. When reading the sign, we (English thinking people) focus in on the "Japanese Healthy Foods" statement on the blue banner. To be quite honest, we had no idea what kind of food to expect until I walked into the restaurant. I didn't notice the colorful sign to the right of this photo with the Japanese writing that says "okonomiyaki" and photo of okonomiyaki or that black apron that says the same. I suppose if you are someone who thinks in Japanese, those would have been obvious.
Another funny thing is Kelli read the sign. This photo was taken from inside the restaurant so it's backwards. When we were walking into the restaurant, she read outloud to me/us, "Japanese Healthy Foods Hiroshi Mayaki". As you can see in this photo, the slit in the banner just happens to be between ...SHI & MA... Therefore her vocalization of it sounded like Hiroshi Mayaki. Upon hearing that, I assumed (and so did she) that Hiroshi Mayaki was the chef's name. Perhaps this "Hiroshi Mayaki" fellow was a popular healthy foods chef from Japan?? Not until we entered the restaurant and were seated at a table did I realize that we were actually in a Hiroshima style okonomiyaki restaurant!! How hilarious! Long story shortened a little... ok I know this was long already, but anyway, I think the signage could be improved to attract a wider variety of customers. Luckily we were feeling adventurous and just decided to jump in not knowing what to expect.
What risk takers we are...
I thought it was very interesting that they had these instructional guides on how to eat okonomiyaki. If you don't know what okonomiyaki is, click for google results. The menu also explains what okonomiyaki is so anyone visiting this restaurant not knowing what they are about to eat has a very thorough explanation. It especially explains the difference between okonomiyaki in various areas of Japan and Hiroshima's style of okonomiyaki. My family is from Hiroshima so I am familiar with the Hiroshima style of okonomiyaki as well as the other Kansai area styles that are like pancakes. The main difference with the Hiroshima style or Hiroshimayaki is that it contains yakisoba (fried noodles) as the base rather than the pancake batter style.
Kelli ordered the regular yakisoba (fried noodles). The basic has pork, bean sprouts, cabbage, seaweed flakes and this restaurant uses Mitsuwa Sauce to season their noodles. It was very nice tasting. Not too oily or mushy (overcooked) like yakisoba at many other restaurants. This is the lunch portion which is lower priced than the dinner menu.
I had the Hiroshimayaki. It's the same yakisoba with a crepe style egg over it and the okonomiyaki sauce (Mitsuwa Sauce in this restaurant). It also has a couple slices of bacon. It comes served on a sizzling hot platter. Normally in Japan you eat this off a sizzling hot grill after watching the chef prepare it (similar to teppanyaki restaurants), but they couldn't re-create that here.
I just had to take this picture because I thought it was so neat that the mayonnaise bottle dispensed the mayonnaise out of multiple holes.
This was a very pleasing lunch. I'm happy we discovered a good casual Hiroshima style okonomiyaki restaurant in Honolulu. There is another okonomiyaki restaurant in Waikiki, but it's a major rip-off.
Our lunch for 2 cost about $20. Dinner menu prices are slightly higher and begin at 5 or 530pm (I can't remember). It's a good thing we were willing to take a chance and try this restaurant. I recommend trying it if you like okonomiyaki or yakisoba. They also have fried rice or yakimeshi, but we didn't get to try that yet.
How do you interpret the sign? Are you a Japanese thinker or English thinker?
*Edit* This is what the stamp card looks like. It's pretty funny with the pig face stamps! :8)