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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, October 23, 2005

Residents bone up on dry-aged steaks

Chef Danny Morioka describes the 20-ounce, bone-in Kansas City New York steak as "mind boggling."

Photo by Randy T. Fujimori

d.k Steak House

Where: Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, 2552 Kalakaua Ave.

Call: 931-6286 (Seafood & Sushi), 931-6280 (Steak House)

Hours: Daily from 5:30 p.m.

Parking: Free self-parking or $7 validated valet parking

Note: Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar is located in the adjoining room

Process gives meat nutty, rich flavors, says D.K. Kodama W ell-respected chef D.K. Kodama likens the dry-aging process of beef to the centuries-old practice of aging cheese.

"It may not smell very good," laughed Kodama, whose favorite cheeses are Brie, Chevre and Cashel — his three kids, "but the final product is fabulous."

For the past 15 days, chefs Kodama and Danny Morioka and general manger Ivy Nagayama have been aging hefty bone-in rib-eye and Kansas City New York strip steaks at d.k Steak House.

"We used to only age our steaks no more than 15 to 20 days," Nagayama said. "Now, we're dry aging the whole loin for at least 30 days."

And the difference in flavor and texture is remarkably noticeable. The hefty 22-ounce rib-eye, on-the-bone steak is tender and nutty in taste.

"Like wine, you can say that dry-aged steaks have a certain profile," Morioka said. "Dry aging meat opens up little flavors that you wouldn't otherwise get if it wasn't dry-aged. The process enhances the flavor and brings out the richness."

During the dry-aging process — which is done here on premise in a room located behind the walk-in freezer — moisture will evaporate from the muscle, thus creating a greater concentration of beefy flavor and taste. And during the first 10 to 14 days, the beef's natural enzymes will break down the fibrous, connective tissue in the muscle, tenderizing it. The end result is a more flavorful and tender cut of steak.

"We've got to educate people that the steak they're going to get here is very different from the fresh steaks they're used to getting at their local supermarket," Kodama said. "We've tasted them side by side and there was no comparison. Ours was much better."

The bone-in, rib-eye steak costs $35.95. For $8 more, have it as a complete meal, served with a choice of soup or Caesar salad, and potato souflee or white rice and vegetables.

The 20-ounce, Kansas City bone-in New York steak entree is priced at $31.95.

"We just put this on the menu this month and it's going head-to-head with the rib-eye," Morioka said. "We top it with onion-and-garlic butter and a single bite is mind boggling. It's awesome."

The same could be said about the T-bone lamb chops ($27.95) and kiawe-smoked pork chops, two popular alternatives to the steaks.

When visiting d.k's, be sure to try a couple of side dishes. The asparagus Milanese ($7.95) offers stalks of grilled Waialua asparagus that are topped with a large farm-fresh egg. The flavor of yolk spilling onto the truffle-oil-garnished asparagus melds tastefully well. Not to be ignored are the yummy sauteed garlic mushrooms ($6.95). Simple but palate pleasing.

"We want to be a 'boutique' steak house," Nagayama said. "We want to offer cuts of dry-aged steaks that you won't find anywhere else."