Kozo’s on a Roll with new offerings

Inside Feature

October 3, 2017

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

Spicy Ahi Natto Don ($8.25)

For kamaaina “in the know,” Kozo Sushi is one of Oahu’s most delectable dining gems.

Year after year, Kozo’s sushi, carefully made with the freshest ingredients, has motivated locals to select the chain as one of “Hawaii’s Best” in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Items on Kozo Sushi’s menu are constantly developed and refined by its chefs, who find inspiration in island flavors and ingredients. Many of its most intriguing dishes, like the new Spicy Ahi Natto Don ($8.25), fuse flavors from Japan and Hawaii. Inspired by a popular, classically traditional recipe, the donburi features spicy ahi and natto (fermented soybeans), as well as egg, nori, green onion and Kozo’s unique sushi rice, made with its own special vinegar.

“I wanted to add a local spin, so we decided to use spicy ahi,” says Maricel Antonio, manager of Kozo Sushi’s Pearlridge location. “We also decided to use natto because of its fermented properties, which make it a healthy ingredient.”

Another innovative recipe from the Kozo kitchens is developed for those who don’t eat meat and seafood: Tofu Poke Don ($6.99). “We wanted to make a dish that caters to vegetarians and people who cannot eat raw fish,” explains Antonio. “We also wanted to introduce people to a Japanese-style dish that doesn’t have any meat.”

Tofu Poke Don ($6.99)

Served cold, this satisfyingly savory bowl includes tofu, avocado, cucumber and green onions over your choice of lettuce or rice (white or brown), with garnishes of nori and sesame seeds, and Kozo’s own special poke sauce.

Also worth trying: perennial favorite Spicy Kaki-Age Don ($6.80). This made-to-order, piping hot bowl is filled with vegetable tempura over rice and garnished with green onions and both spicy and teriyaki sauces, for mouthwatering complexity.

Spicy Kaki-Age Don ($6.80)

Kozo Sushi’s first restaurant opened in Osaka some 45 years ago, as sort of a cross between an okazuya (Japanese deli) and a reasonably priced sushi bar. In Japan, the franchise has now grown to include more than a thousand locations. With five locations on Oahu, Kozo Sushi has earned its reputation here in Hawaii as a convenient, quick source for excellent sushi.

In addition to this trio of scrumptious bowls, Kozo offers an enticing array of hand rolls, hosomaki, makimono and nigiri, as well as other donburi, bentos and noodle dishes. There’s also a great selection of party platters, like the 45-piece D-Nigiri Set ($36.99) with ahi, ika, egg, negitoro, ikura, masago, ebi, unagi and salmon. (Just a reminder: Kozo Sushi’s Kahala location is currently closed for renovations, but the Moiliili and Keeaumoku locations are nearby and convenient.)

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