‘Roll’ with the punches

Columns Veg'n Out

June 29, 2014

Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

There’s a saying in life that is often offered by those optimistically inclined. When times get tough and all seems to overwhelm, the positive Pollyannas among us pipe up with a jolly “Just roll with the punches!” cliché.

Now, most of the time, I take this advice good-naturedly to heart and welcome their pithy positivity. Yet, even I must admit there are those days when I want to ditch the Disneyland catch phrases and discuss some real punches with those rose-colored glass wearing well-wishers instead!

Gratefully, one establishment that doesn’t back down from this zen-infused challenge, and in fact, fully (and deliciously) embraces it with gastronomic gusto, is Kozo Sushi. With several convenient Oahu locations to serve you, this sushi spot without a doubt “rolls” with plenty of punches — of flavor, that is.

Whether it’s packing heat with spicy sauce, jabbing to the left with juicy avocado or bobbing and weaving rice rounds with the best of ‘em, Kozo Sushi brings to the mat a menu of mouth-watering morsels that will have you begging not for mercy, but for more.

The No. 1 fast-food sushi chain in Japan, Kozo Sushi is fast amassing patron approval here in Hawaii as well.

“Kozo Sushi is known as one of the most popular takeout restaurants in Japan, but also is becoming a success here because of its similar quality of sushi to many expensive restaurants, but at a much cheaper price,” explains owner Mika Niwa, when asked what sets Kozo Sushi apart. “It’s a great value.”

Another thing that separates Kozo Sushi from the rest is the restaurant’s special way of preparing its rice. “We use a special Kozo Sushi vinegar that is added onto the rice that gives it that little bit of extra flavor,” says Niwa.

And granted, one normally thinks immediately of fish when someone says “sushi,” yet this restaurant refuses to go down for the count when it comes to accommodating vegetarian diners as well.

“Kozo Sushi is a place where sushi can meet everyone’s needs, whether it’s customers who prefer non raw fish dishes, or even vegetarian dishes,” assures Niwa.

Offering an array of non-meat items that will knock you out, but prices that won’t hit you below the belt, Kozo Sushi serves up these delicious options, and more.

Futo Maki ($3.89) consists of egg, kampyo (shavings of squash), cucumber and tofu — all rolled up into a makimono and finely cut into 8 pieces.

Veggie Temaki ($1.60) is a petite side dish of fresh avocado, cucumber, lettuce and mayo, bundled up tight into a handroll with rice and nori — a bare-knuckled basic that makes for a light, yet satisfying snack.

So, if you were ever on the ropes about whether or not to satisfy that Kozo Sushi craving, take my advice and go the distance. Just one big bite of these delicious flavor-punch packin’ bundles will make you a believer (just don’t lead with your chin).

Contact Andy Beth Miller at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Kozo Sushi

2334 S. King St., Honolulu (in addition to four other 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.

Honolulu, HI 96826

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best