Miyako Restaurant at New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel

Miyako Restaurant at New Otani Kaimaina

The Miyako Restaurant at the new Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel in Honolulu amazed us to no end. Just when you think you’ve dined at all the best Japanese restaurants, this one soars to the top of the list. Even the Otani Kaimana Hotel was a unique and amazing discovery.

It wasn’t as though I had planned to discover this place. My trip to Honolulu for New Year’s to see Hella Rothwell involved returning to Kona on Thursday. But then my husband pointed out that Patton Oswalt was on vacation at Oahu. Apparently, Patton posted to Twitter announcing a show at the Blue Note in Waikiki, located next to the Outrigger, the day after I would have left.

Hey, hey, there is a benefit to Pualani Platinum status on Hawaiian Airlines. I changed my return flight from Thursday to Saturday at no charge. We had to check out of the Halekulani on Thursday, so Hella suggested I get a room at the Otani. I went online and booked a corner room with ocean views.

Miyako Restaurant at New Otani Kaimaina

However, when I checked in and saw the room on the 6th floor, it was NOT a remodeled room. It is called the New Otani Kaimana for a reason. I asked the front desk for an upgrade, and the photo above was shot from my new room at the Queen Kapiolani Suite, room 914. The difference between the two rooms was like staying at a Motel 6 versus Four Seasons.

Look at that view of Waikiki. You can see the Royal Hawaiian (the pink hotel) in the distance. Not only are the views spectacular from the top floor of the Otani, but you can also view the mountains from its floor-to-ceiling windows that open to a lanai. I have two words for you. Toto Washlet. I had to work on Friday, selling Sacramento real estate, but did not object to working from my room one little bit. And, it was only $72 more than the Motel 6 room.

The location is also next door to Michel’s at the Colony Surf. You can walk to Waikiki, and I have done it on previous trips, never realizing the Otani was here.

Miyako Restaurant at New Otani Kaimaina

Hella started the dinner at Miyako Restaurant with a trio sake sampler. I stuck to sparkling wine. The only remarkable thing I recall about Hella’s sake sampler was the Cherry Blossom sake, which was incredible. This was January 4th, and the Japanese New Year had ended.

I know I’ve said this before, how I used to believe the French had cornered the market on how to enjoy life by enhancing simple daily activities. But when I got older, I realized my mistake. It is the Japanese who have refined the art of living well. It didn’t even bother me that when we were at the Halekulani, except for that creepy English toad at Orchids, we were about the only white people there. Everybody else was Japanese, the staff and the guests. I felt right at home.

Miyako Restaurant at New Otani Kaimaina

The staff at Miyako Restaurant wore traditional kimonos. Reminded me of my uncle who served in Okinawa when I was a kid. He sent me a Japanese doll dressed in a kimono, which my mother refused to let me play with. She said I could admire her in my shadow box on my bedroom wall, but I was not allowed to touch her.

What an idiotic thing to tell a child. Her attire was bright yellow and beautiful. So of course I eventually removed the pins, and took her entire outfit apart, without being able to piece it back together.

We ordered shabu shabu. But with wagyu beef. We were served many courses of small dishes, starting with seaweed, followed by sashimi, then pickled vegetables, rice, miso soup. I’m probably forgetting something. It was so much food.

I tried my best to finish my wagyu beef but I could not. The shabu shabu featured cabbage, green onions, emoki mushrooms, tofu, carrot, rice noodles — served with a ponzu and another dipping sauce. You could have rolled me out of there. Just shoved me onto the floor and rolled me to the elevator.

Patton Oswalt at Blue Note

After dinner, we drove to the Blue Note, which is next to the Outrigger Hotel in Waikiki. I was able to score premium tables to see Patton Oswalt. Patton is a bit of hero to my husband and me. His humor is wicked smart, delivered with a touch of humility. I was only sorry that my husband could not be in Hawaii with me. But somebody’s gotta feed the cats. He would have enjoyed it.

Especially the part where Patton said he doesn’t really do Trump jokes because our president has that covered all by himself. He compared his presidency to a busload of monkeys on PCP running into a mountain of diarrhea. The jokes are all there by themselves. Nobody has to help that.

Patton, of course, did his part where he involved the audience in his banter. That’s about the time I was wishing we hadn’t chosen a booth with Tiffany, I forgot her name, and her husband. But she did show us how to use the filters in Messenger to create the photo you see above you now. I need more friends with children.

Most of Patton’s skit had to do with turning 50, ha, ha, ha, such a baby he is. You’re not really living until you pass age 65. And his marriage, dealing with the complexities of an invitation to tour the Millennium Falcon or attend his daughter’s 2nd grade art show. This is why I don’t have kids. But humor comes from your life. You talk about about what you know and experience. And if you can’t make fun of that, what’s the freakin’ point?

Elizabeth Weintraub

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