Benihana heir expands to Waikiki
Kevin Aoki, son of the founder of the Benihana of Tokyo restaurant chain, is rolling into town with a new sushi restaurant at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.
Doraku Sushi, which has one location in Miami Beach, is expected to open in Waikiki sometime next week, offering Japanese cuisine with a Latin twist. His father, Rocky Aoki, is the founder of Benihana Inc.
, the teppanyaki restaurant that has made its name worldwide for its entertaining, knife-wielding chefs as much as for its cuisine.
Doraku in the hip and trendy South Beach area of Miami offers fresh sushi on a conveyor belt, a full bar with an extensive selection of sake, and its own tunes.
"It's a pretty simple concept," Kevin Aoki told the Star-Bulletin. "We're serving Japanese food with an inventive twist, with some Latin and pan-Asian flavors. The main thing we're focusing on is that everyone has a great time in a great ambiance."
Aoki said Honolulu seemed like a good fit, and when approached by shopping center owner Kamehameha Schools, he decided to seize the opportunity.
Doraku will occupy 4,700 square feet overlooking the Royal Grove at the shopping center, with 170 seats. It will be open for lunch and dinner.
Online reviews describe the Miami Doraku as like Nobu, but half the price, with good service and a fun atmosphere. Menu offerings in Miami include seared tuna with Asian salsa, ahi poke, salmon carpaccio and seafood ceviche.
Last year Benihana Inc. sold Doraku in Miami to Kevin Aoki's Aoki Group for $536,000. Aoki in turn resigned from his position as director of marketing at Benihana.