Modern fusion cuisine is not only often tasty, but a reasonable extension of our shared gastronomic history. Even dishes thought idiosyncratic to a particular country are rarely free of intercultural influence. All that said and done, sometimes it is nice to sit down to a meal that resists modern interference. Traditional dishes are not necessarily always improved by radical reinventions or reimaginings – something to which Hosokawa can attest.
Not lavishly or even traditionally decorated, it is not for the décor that locals flock to this small Hamilton Japanese restaurant. Not exactly a sake bar, Hosokawa offers only a few local and Japanese beers, some wines (which you can also BYO) and a modest selection of sake and umeshu. But, there are plenty of authentic izakaya style dishes to accompany them: agedashi dofu, yakitori, karaage, and tempura to name a few. The nasu dengaku is a real standout - half an eggplant grilled with sesame and miso sauce - sweet and crisp on top, with velvety molten eggplant inside.
The portion sizes are surprisingly generous given the prices and the standard accompaniments of rice, white miso soup and assorted pickles are readily available, as are shared hotpots like sukiyaki and shabu shabu.
Though these options do not disappoint, they are not the main drawcard. The sushi counter is manned by co-owner and chef Akio Hosokawa (a veteran of Brisbane's Japanese restaurant scene). The sashimi and sushi are without fault – simple, expertly handled and lovingly presented. The nori is crisp, the rice well seasoned, and the seafood is fresh and thickly sliced.
Lunchtime bento (which we highly recommend) is also available for a minimum of two people if ordered ahead of time.
In a country where Japanese food is often associated with either sushi chains or degustation, Hosokawa offers a very welcome alternative.