Ossu Sushi is Grand Wailea’s clever new pop-up with master sushi chef Tadashi Yoshino at the helm. The sushi concept spot is right next to Cafe Kula, serving its sushi and nigiri menu from 5pm to closing. Yoshino’s passion for freshness and traditional style sushi lends itself to the Grand Wailea’s posh-casual vibe in Ossu.
“I just want to make them happy,” says Tadashi. “When a guest eats my sushi, I want them to feel excited to eat my food and happy from the moment they taste it until they complete their meal.”
The former Napua Gallery has been repurposed, with two gorgeous and tall natural wood community tables creating the dining room. The room starts filling up, first come first served, at 5pm. I liked how the menus were backed with recycled Corona case boxes; the effect is earthy. There is no sign for the restaurant, but there is a sushi menu in the window, and the back wall behind chef Yoshino has the Ossu logo to give the pop-up away.
“The rainbow roll and shrimp tempura roll are definitely the most popular items among guests,” says Yoshino. “My favorite sushi to make is anything with local tuna! I love Hawai‘i’s local tuna.”
The rolls have locally inspired names like the Anuenue Roll, Bumbai You Learn, Kanak Attack, and Howzit Roll, but they are easily translated into familiar rolls with top of the line ingredients. My favorite was the Bumbai, with salmon, asparagus, avocado, garlic aioli, cilantro, avocado, and wasabi tobiko. The micro cilantro was incredibly delicate but flavorful, and the presentation was impressive. From the starter menu I tried the hamachi jalepeno, with big mouthfuls of fresh hamachi, kaiware sprouts, daikon, and ponzu, it is a dramatic modern looking sashimi dish. There is a selection of beer, sake, wine, and soft drinks.
“I am hyper aware of what is available locally versus what we import,” says Yoshino. “I try to utilize as many local products as I can and work with local fishermen. For items I cannot get here, we fly in from Japan.”
From the nigiri menu I tasted some sensational otoro, sake, kampachi, ahi, and uni. Every item is crisp, and each nigiri the ideal texture with each bite. I fell in love with their fresh pickled ginger. The uni was spectacular. Chef says his specialty is clean, fresh fish, served traditionally with the occasional flare. Yoshino’s appreciation for sushi began as a boy in Japan, but culminated in a career that began at Grand Wailea’s former Japanese restaurant Kincha where he was a busser and worked his way up from line cook to chef de cuisine. Later working as head chef at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua for over a decade, Yoshino returned to the Grand Wailea team in June.
“Sushi hasn’t always been my focus,” says Yoshino. “But the past 15 years have been all about sushi. Before that, I still focused on sushi but also cooked a variety of Japanese cuisine.”
When Yoshino isn’t creating sushi art at Ossu, he still eats sushi.
“For sushi, I always go to Koiso,” says Yoshino. “When I’m looking for somewhere casual to dine and unwind, my go-to is Flatbread Company in Pa‘ia.”
We completed the flawless sushi experience with Yoshino’s desserts, the green tea trifle of Japanese cheesecake and green tea custard, and yuzu sorbet fruit platter. For more information go to grandwailea.com or call 808-875-1234.
3850 Wailea Alanui
Wailea, Maui HI 96753