Short Attention Span Eater
The water's fine at Goldfish, where, to tell you the truth, I wasn't expecting much on my first visit, which, like many lunch expeditions, was a matter of proximity.
On the menu were nigiri sushi combos for $7 to $10; basic plates such as beef curry ($7), chicken and beef teriyaki ($6 and $7, respectively); and tempura mahimahi ($8). I generally don't like ahi sandwiches because most that I've tried have been overcooked, liver-gray and leathery, but because I was too hungry to think clearly, I went for the seared ahi burger ($8). It ended up being the most delicious ahi sandwich I have ever had. The ahi had been encrusted in sesame seeds rendered crunchy and toasty on the outside by the hot skillet, the fish's moisture sealed inside and augmented by a touch of mild teriyaki sauce.
568 Halekauwila St. / 721-8800
Goldfish's scheme is a relaxing blue-green, as if you're in a fishbowl. A batch of 1970s and '80s album covers lines one wall to appeal to a presumed middle-age clientele, although the room registers as 20-something funky and grungy, and not likely to appeal to the Purell-carrying set. By night, Goldfish seems like it would be more at home in Seattle or Portland, Ore. In fact, its sushi chef, Kabel Kim, is from Korea but trained in the Northwest, in Vancouver, Canada, giving him a unique take on cuisine.
One night he presented an amuse bouche of ahi tartar spiked with a mild red curry, a perfect marriage that made me wonder why I'd never had this combination before. Also unusual is a Hawaiian yam roll ($7) that is plain to look at -- a layer of yam in yellow tempura batter on white rice -- but is as sweet and crunchy as you might expect, and delightful in its novelty.
Kim is the consummate artist whose caterpillar roll ($10) has several layers of avocado perfectly aligned so that nothing slips or falls apart when you pick it up.
Ordering a batch of sushi rolls works well for those on a budget as two of these will fill you up quicker than nigiri orders. Something like the Volcano roll (chopped scallops and spicy tuna, $10) or the Dynamite roll (baked spicy tuna on a California roll with a layer of cheddar, $10) will give you the most bang for your buck.
Open 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays and 5 to 10 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Cost: less than $10 per person for lunch; about $25 to $30 for dinner for two.