We celebrated James’ birthday with three different meals this year. (He likes to be “festooned” on his birthday, and he deserves it!)
The last (and best meal), was at our favorite sushi place, Koiso, in Kihei.
Hiro-san, the owner and master sushi chef who makes magical food at a twelve-seat sushi bar, is a an artist, and I want you to read our review of his work. I work really hard to capture his magic in our review every year, because I am in love with his food and the experience he provides. So if you are not a book reader, and you love sushi, commune with me over fresh fish on page 89-90 of Top Maui Restaurants. [end shameless plug]
If you are looking for over-the-top Pacific-Rim presentations that involve sushi, don’t come here … but if you are looking for desperately fresh, authentic Japanese sushi, made by a master and served with honor, make a reservation (you need one these days) at Koiso.
We rarely order anymore – we just sit and let him feed us. On this particular day, James’ birthday, we sat surrounded by people from other countries (China, Japan, Canada), and toasted my love, my sweetheart, my everything, my James, while Hiro-san made us food. After we finished our sushi, James made his first and only request of the evening:
“Hiro-san, may I have uni, please?”
Hiro-san nodded and went to work, and a few minutes later he handed over a decadent looking roll that made our eyes tear up.
Inside was the requested uni, along with scallops, avocado, and fresh crab (not haddock – never haddock at Koiso).
We didn’t speak much as we took our first piece. We just let the creamy, sweet, salty sea roll around our tongues. Hiro-san was already at work on his next order.
“What was the name of that roll?” asked the congenial Quebecois gentleman sitting next to James.
“No name,” said Hiro-san, “Made up for his birthday. Birthday roll?”
We all laughed. Hiro-san does not name his food, and he does not have to. (Laughing, by the way, is allowed at Koiso. It’s a place for serious food, but everyone there – no matter where they’re from – is usually a food lover and a good person. Get to know your neighbors.)
We took a picture, so we’ll always remember James’ No Name Birthday Roll.
Will we ask for it again? Probably not. He made it up on the spot, and next time we go, he’ll be inspired to make up something else just perfect for that moment. We trust Hiro-san to feed us, and he has never made us anything but deliriously happy. We don’t mess with perfection. We just do as we’re instructed, and eat what he puts in front of us.
By all means, if you love sushi, go to Koiso. Just make sure you call ahead for a reservation, and you treat him well.