Vegetarians Take to Todai

Columns Veg'n Out

July 28, 2013

Story By: Rasa Fournier | Photos by: Rachel Breit

When vegetarians profess to loving sushi, their pescatarian counterparts are often surprised. After all, sushi is all about fresh fish, right? Historically, yes, seafood is a key ingredient, but the primary, can’t-do-without, base ingredient is rice, often wrapped in nori. Today, sushi has kept with the health trend favoring vegetable offerings by housing numerous varieties and mixes of fresh veggies in the center of the rice rolls.

Though sushi is ubiquitous on our sea-soaked Islands, one place stands out. Todai Waikiki is a veritable heaven for sushi lovers. By buffet opening time, a packed line trails out the front door, waiting to sample the endless selection that spreads from one end of the room to the other. This isn’t the typical countertop sushi shop, nor kaiten, or conveyor belt, sit down dining. Todai offers something much more elaborate, boasting a huge variety at several substantial sushi stations.

The area serving Custom Hand Rolls ― adjacent to a salad bar and a separate salad station with prepared salads ― presents glasstrays on ice, loaded with sushi selections. Vegetarian norimaki (nori roll) specialties, rolled and shaped into an attractive teardrop shape, include a roll stuffed with choy sum, tomato and cucumber, and a second roll featuring daikon pickle, red bell pepper, tomato and cucumber. A third option is rolled in a furikake finish, with a stuffing of bell pepper, pickle, choy sum and cucumber.

The rolls are part of the buffet experience, which is priced at $11.98 Monday through Friday and $15.98 Saturday through Sunday for lunch, and $25.98 Monday through Thursday and $26.98 Friday through Sunday for dinner. Prices go up at dinner, reflecting a broader seafood menu. In addition to the salad and sushi roll stations are areas with hot selections, a tempura bar, noodle bar and dessert bar with sugary bites of cheesecake, tiramisu and lots more, but also an impressive array of fruits in a rainbow of colors: pineapple, watermelon, papaya, oranges, honey dew, cantaloupe and banana. Even for vegetarians, a buffet lunch for $11.98 is a steal.

Contact Rasa Fournier at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Todai Restaurant

1910 Ala Moana Blvd.
Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 5:30-9 p.m., Friday-Sunday, 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best