Ichifuji is one of the top restaurants that I would recommend to anyone who plans on going to Oahu whether it is soon or in the future. Known for their Japanese nabe or healthy hot pot, their oxtail soup base is simmered for 24 hours and is honestly one of the best soups I’ve had in my life. Ichifuji also makes its lemon, garlic, and kombu salts in-house and provides recommendations on what to pair it with for each ingredient. Located on S. King Street and right above Tori Ton, walk up the stairs to check-in and you will be greeted by staff wearing kimonos. You must make a reservation to dine at the restaurant and they are open only during dinner time and closed on Monday to Wednesday so check Opendoor for a reservation. They offer upscale and premium ingredients and I would suggest going for their 6, 9, or 10-course meal for the ultimate experience. They also have a premium menu where you must book the day before for them to prepare. For my first time, I went for the premium course but also tried the 9 courses soon after and both are delicious depending on how hungry you are or how much you want to eat.
The premium option has 13 courses and costs $89.50. Starting with the appetizers, it came with beef tongue sashimi, fresh sashimi, and kona abalone. The next course was a teacup with a steamed egg custard dish in it. Known as chawan mushi, the egg was steamed with mushrooms and extremely hearty and flavorful. I’ve never tried anything like this before and love how it was part of the experience. The next item was a seared lobster which was cooked to perfection and each bite was so juicy and delicious and the last appetizer was seared wagyu sushi.
The oxtail broth is then prepared and green onions are added to enhance the rich taste. For the nabe, you are given beef tongue, US wagyu, and kurobuta pork wrapped with shredded napa cabbage. They tell you how long to cook each item in the broth and which salts to pair it with. On the side, there is also a sesame dressing and ponzu sauce if you want more flavor. Out of all the meats, the pork was hands down my favorite since it was so tender and when paired with the cabbage, it was the ultimate dish for a cold and rainy night. Once you are done, the next item is the assorted vegetables which have mushrooms, spinach, bok choy, and more. This was a nice touch since everything has been meat so eating the fresh vegetables helped ease onto the next course.
The special catch of the day was tai snapper and king crab which was very fresh. You can choose your choice of noodles which is either ramen or soba. Each option is delicious and I love how they make it in-house since the texture was chewy and fresh. Make sure to grab all the noodles from the soup since the server will then created a barley rice porridge with grated yamaimo with the leftover broth. They make it right in front of you so you can see what is happening and is served to you piping hot and delicious. If you are here with a group, I would recommend making it only in one pot instead of two since the porridge is more than enough to feed 4-6 people. Lastly, the dessert was a strawberry jelly which was light and airy to end the long course.
Overall, this is one of the best experiences I've had and I would highly recommend Ichifuji to anyone who loves Japanese hot pot. While it may be pricey, everything served was extremely high quality and I have nothing but good things to say about them! The meal took about three hours to complete since they make sure each course is finished before the next one is served. Amazing ambiance and attentive service - this is one restaurant that you must add to your list.