The Weekly Eater


Aloha Sushi satisfies that craving
but with a light touch

Every year, the pre-Thanksgiving dilemma is what to eat before the big event. No use pigging out unless you plan to pull a caftan over your head before the turkey dinner. Between leftover Halloween candies and early Christmas treats, that may be the only thing that fits over your opu.

Or do what I do and starve yourself. At least I imagine myself to be starving with lunches of yogurt and fruit, resulting in much hunger and much need for chocolate in the afternoon.

Inside Aloha Sushi at 1505 Dillingham Boulevard, Yong Mero holds out a Nigiri Special, containing ahi, izumidai (red snapper), ebi (shrimp), salmon and unagi (eel).

What's needed is something light, fast, noncommittal, yet substantial enough so you don't feel tempted to snack later.

The menu at Aloha Sushi fits the bill. I happened to find the Kalihi shop, but Aloha Sushi's sign with the red-and-white fish has been multiplying all over town, popping up as quickly as Christmas lights. If there's not one near you now, wait 'til next year. The chain just may be the McDonald's of sushi.

The draw is inexpensive bites of popular selections such as ebi (shrimp), ahi, tako, unagi (eel) and salmon, at six pieces of nigiri sushi for $3.69. Make up your own combination by making two selections of three pieces each for the same price.

You get what you pay for with the seafood, which is as sterile as the restaurants' spotless interiors. The fish and shellfish certainly are not as fatty or flavorful as what you'd get from a traditional sushi bar, but that's the difference between paying $100 for a meal vs. $20. A stop at Aloha Sushi will do if you just need a fix of that magical combination of fish, wasabi and soy sauce.

FIRST, GET COZY with a bowl of miso soup (89 cents). Consider sitting down for a look at the printed menu rather than the signs to avoid missing something.

Although I prefer the delicacy of nigiri sushi, in the super-size era (see "Honolulu Lite" on facing page), the handrolls (99 cents each) are all-important. This is the temaki roll on steroids, at about five times normal size, and packed with rice. As the centerpiece ingredient, the two most requested are ahi and the California roll combination of avocado, cucumbers and surimi.

Around brunch time, you might check out the Spam Roll or Portuguese Sausage Roll, which tastes exactly like your typical morning combo. The only thing different is you don't need a fork to eat it.

And if you haven't figured out what to add to the Thanksgiving table, Aloha Sushi offers platters in various sizes, from 30 pieces for $10.99 to 45 pieces for $20.99.

No dessert is offered, but at this time of year do you really need it?.


1505 Dillingham Boulevard #1200 (next to Savers) / 845-1444 Other locations: Fort Street Mall, Ward Warehouse, Aina Haina Shopping Center, Discovery Bay Center, First Hawaiian Tower, Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center, Kapolei Center, Nimitz Airport Center

Food StarStar1/2

Service StarStar1/2

Ambience StarStar1/2

Value StarStarStar

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sundays

Cost: Less than $10 per person

See some past restaurant reviews in the
Columnists section.

Nadine Kam's restaurant reviews run on Thursdays. Reviews are conducted anonymously and paid for by the Star-Bulletin. Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants:

very good, exceeds expectations;
below average.

To recommend a restaurant, write: The Weekly Eater, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802. Or send e-mail to

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