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On an island where real estate is a premium, bentos make the most of space in an artful and tasty way. Serving restaurant-quality sushi at fast-food prices, Kozo Sushi is king when it comes to a quick grab-and-go meal. The Kozo brand is deeply ingrained in the collective consciousness of locals. Who doesn’t remember the captivating eyefuls of the eatery’s endless offerings represented in detailed plastic likenesses, let alone the mouthwatering bitesized rolls?
With its extensive selection of fresh-cut fish and vegetables — both the traditional and trendy — you can’t go wrong at Kozo when in the mood for sushi. But if you’re having a hard time picking just one thing — the bento boxes have it all. Sushi, sushi and more sushi — all packed up with a little extra.
The Lunch Box ($6.15) is a no-brainer. The box, hand-selected by Kozo for the optimal lunchtime assortment, hits all the notes: crunchy daikon and cucumber, buttery ahi, rich salmon, tender squid, sweet shrimp, fluffy egg, tasty inari and all-round pleasing futomaki — 15 pieces total.
Want some noodles with that? Sushi Udon Set ($6.80) combines tendrils of cold udon with inari, shrimp and ahi nigiri (nigiri is the type of sushi made with a bed of rice topped with fish or other morsels) and creamy inside-out California rolls. Take your turn dipping the thick noodles into a savory shoyu sauce while munching on pieces of sushi.
Another box with the best of both worlds puts the satisfying crunch of katsu against the suppleness of sushi in a winning match (Chicken Katsu Plate, $6.99). Drizzled with teriyaki, the chicken katsu is served on top of a scoop of furikake rice and accompanied by fresh leaves of frilly lettuce and slices of vegetables, various maki, California rolls and inari.
To get your sushi consumption rolling, here’s an extra helping of Sushi 101 for both sushi “nubes” and veterans. Fingers work better than chopsticks to pick up nigiri sushi as it helps keep the packed rice intact. If possible, finish the piece in one or two bites. Use shoyu sparingly, dipping the sushi fish-side down. If you dunk the rice into the shoyu, it will crumble. For an extra kick, mix a bit of wasabi into the shoyu, and eating pickled ginger between bites will cleanse your palate.
Take these hints or leave them. As long as you’re enjoying your sushi, lunch is a wrap.
2334 S. King St., Honolulu (and various locations)
Monday–Thursday, 9:30 a.m.–7 p.m.
Friday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–8 p.m.
Sunday, 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m.