Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gazen Izakaya

Having just remembered about Gazen from a friends blog, The Nom Nom Foodie, I quickly called one of my friends and planned a dinner there. I love this place! Located on Kapiolani Blvd across Kaimuki High School and Market City Shopping Center, Gazen is known for their homemade tofu. Their tofu is so creamy and silky, it melts in your mouth. Try it for yourself! They also prepare 3 different types of tofu, Sesame Seed, Sukui (my favorite!), and the usual, plain tofu.

Gazen used to be one of my favorite restaurants, but I stopped going after awhile. Having gone more than 5 times at least, I've always had a pleasant experience. Sometimes they are a bit slow, but it was never a big problem. Last night was a different story. We ordered about 6-7 dishes. Our Tofu sampler and Japanese Style Omelette arrived first, pretty quickly. We were hungry and gobbled both dishes in a matter of minutes. After those 2 dishes, we waited a good 10-15 minutes for our second dish. Yes, dish, as in ONE DISH AT A TIME. This continued throughout our meal, one dish at a time, having to wait 10 minutes in between for each. It was awful. We described it as being a "tease," because one Izakaya (meaning small plates) dish would come, we'd gobble, and then have to starve again for another 10 minutes. Then, we ordered more dishes as we neared the end of our original order. We were still hungry. An order of Uni and one order of Ikura, plus why not, an order of Sweet Potato Mochi and Ice cream for dessert. Since everything took so long, my friend David, jokingly mentioned that it'd be funny if they brought the dessert before our orders of nigiri sushi. Well, what do you top it off, our dessert did indeed come before our Uni/Ikura. I complained to our waitress (who did nothing), the manager (who did nothing), and then the boss, who finally got us our food after 30 minutes of waiting. We almost cancelled the order! The boss apologized, gave our sushi to us on the house, and said that they just made rice and were waiting for it to cool down (for our sushi). 

After our long and painful ordeal, we summed up that the food itself was great, but the waiting in between was absolutely horrendous. Next time I'm craving Gazen, I will definitely think twice about going on a Friday (or Saturday) again...maybe a weekday might be better...when they are less busy. Oh, and that brings me to another point- it was very hard to flag down our waitress...although they did keep our water glasses filled pretty well, I guess....

Parking- Small lot, and I found that 4 cars have to double park, so that can be a hassle. I'd recommend just going on a weekday- this might take away the problems of parking and also slow service.

On a side note, I tried Uni for the first time. Let's just say, there's a first time for everything, but this Uni experience will probably be my last.

Tofu Sampler- from L-R, Sukui (in Soy milk sauce, MY FAVORITE),
Plain Tofu, and Sesame Seed Tofu

Japanese Style Omelette- made with Dashi.
It is one of my favorites. Definitely not your ordinary egg omelette!!
Soft, simple, delicate.
Perfect with a little of the grated daikon soaked in the dashi/shoyu.

The egg must be partially steamed because it is so tender, soft and perfectly cooked.
It is never undercooked either!

Strawberry-Hi (like Chu-Hi but strawberry-flavored!)

Agemochi- like Agedashi but made with mochi, instead of tofu

Omelette with Noodles and Beef-
Sorta has the flavoring of Okonomiyaki

My friend loved this, but I thought it had very little noodles, not enough beef and WAY too many bean sprouts.

Ikura, Maguro, Chu-Toro and Salmon Nigiri.
The Maguro and Chu-Toro were very fresh-
So soft and tender. My friend oooh and ahhed about the Salmon as well.

Grilled Salmon Roll- very smoky flavor, but plain. No sauce or anything extra. I wouldn't get this again.
I'd try their Unagi Roll next!

And there's our dessert before our Uni/Ikura!
This is the Sweet Potato Mochi with Ice Cream.
Mediocre. AND VERY TINY for two people.

After 30 minutes, our Uni/Ikura finally came. 

There I am trying Uni for the first time.

My friend, David, says Uni and Ikura together are tasty! Ikura itself is my favorite...
I will keep it that way!

Another Veronica M romper.
These are my most favorite rompers!
You can see my other two VM rompers here and here.


  1. Awww sorry to hear about the crappy service.. wth?? I wish I could look as good as you in rompers. And everything looks delish minus the uni lol

  2. HAHA! yes the uni...eww. do you eat that? or have you tried it? really awkward texture.

    thanks for the many compliments jackie. you are a sweetie.