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As a sushi enthusiast, it is difficult to understand how anyone could deprive themselves of food so tasty. I imagine owner Isamu shared the same confusion when he added “veggie sushi” as an alternative to Yuzu’s sushi menu.

The veggie sampler presentation is beautifully executed (as seen right) and is a perfect alternative for vegans, vegetarians and veggie lovers. The sampler includes: tomato, carrot, eggplant, shiitake mushroom, lotus root, eringi mushroom and yuba sushi.

Prior to taste, the veggie sampler appears to be standard fishy goodness. The most remarkable resemblance is the peeled tomato sushi. The appearance and texture are synonymous with tuna sashimi. Naturally, the taste was completely different, which left somewhat of a disconnect between my brain and palette.

For the traditional, non-vegan/non-vegetarian sushi lover, the temari sampler is the gateway to sushi heaven. Yuzu prides itself on presentation. Instead of wrapping the fish with seaweed and rice, the sushi chef allows the fish to wrap bite-size rice balls and tops it with homemade sauce. According to the menu, the ball-shaped sushi gets its name from temari balls, which are made from leftover scraps of kimono fabric. In Japanese, “te” = hand + “mari” = ball

Whenever I eat sushi, I have to factor a hot dish into my meal. Yuzu offers fresh, hand-cut udon, yakitori, organic Yukon fries and omlettes.

The creativity doesn’t end with the sushi. Yuzu offers lotus root pizza. That’s right, pizza. The pizza is crustless, sauceless and meatless. The Japanese variation consists of cheese and lotus root. It is recommended to pair the pizza with a Yuzu hot sauce from California. It adds heat to the dish and adds a little moisture.

After dining at Yuzu, I began to question my diet. I asked myself, “Why don’t I eat like this everyday?” All items are healthy and surprisingly delicious!

Yuzu is located on the ground floor of Ala Moana Hotel, located at 410 Atkinson Dr. Hours: Friday & Saturday until 1 a.m.; lunch 11:45 a.m. – 2 p.m.; dinner 4:30-10 p.m. For more info, visit yuzuhawaii.com.

Tags: Blog