After losing all hope of finding good sushi, we found ourselves in Kona again to catch a plane to Houston. We picked up my brother and he suggested Kenichi at the Keauhou Shopping Plaza (78-6831 Alii Drive, Ste. D - 125, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; 808-322-6400). Prices were about the same as Sansei, (resort prices) but the food was just a cut above and the service was excellent. Of course it helps that everyone knows my brother. He is "Mr. Aloha" in Kona and many of the wait help, hostesses and bartenders know him. Hey, he's an adult, I don't ask.
The five of us did our usual divide up the menu and try from everyone's plate method, so Pono had the standard shrimp tempura, and chicken yakitori. The yakitori were held on the skewers with green onion bottoms. Yummy! My mother-in-law had the carpaccio with ponzu and my husband and brother had the lamb. I'm not a lamb eater, but the men thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the bamboo salmon with cranberry miso and teriyaki sauce on the side. Everything was tasty without being too "shoyuee."
Back to the sushi - besides tobiko, we had a natto temaki, spider roll and the chef's special roll which was spicy ahi, shiso, ume veggies and cream cheese in an upside down roll with ahi on the outside and spicy mayo sauce on top and tongarashi. The soft shell crab in the spider roll was a bit overcooked, but it was pretty good. As for the special roll, the sushi rice was excellent, nicely settled, not too vinegary, the cream cheese was not overwhelming, just enough to cut the bite of the spiciness, the ahi was spicy without masking the freshness of the fish and the shiso added that extra oomph. Plus I got my ginger!
It's difficult to find good Japanese restaurants in Kona, so if you're hankering for slightly upscale Japanese fusion, try Kenichi. Gochisosama.