Something new: Boa Sushi Cafe

It started with an Instagram feed that one of my coworkers flashed in front of my eyes. Heavenly-looking pics of spicy tuna bowls, sushi rolls and platters from Boa Sushi Cafe gave me a new fixation: I had to find this mysterious new downtown spot.

 

A photo posted by Brandon Young (@boasushicafe_) on

What I discovered: Boa, which opened in August, is not only something new, it’s also a hidden gem. Chef-owner Brandon Young spent years making sushi all over Oahu, from Hatsuhana in the Hilton Hawaiian Village to Sansei, Tokoname and Izakaya Torae Torae. He recently started his own sushi catering company and needed a good location for a sushi counter.

Boa Sushi Cafe is located on the basement level of the Remington College Building at 1111 Bishop St. in downtown Honolulu.

Boa Sushi Cafe is on the basement level of the Remington College Building at 1111 Bishop St.

He found a small space on the bottom floor of the Remington College building next to a cupcake shop and Kakaako Foods. Boa Sushi Cafe opened in early August. Be warned: The sushi counter has four seats (a coffee table inside and tables in the building’s common area outside provide more dine-in options), but Boa is open strictly from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday, so this is not your new pau hana sushi counter.

The menu changes frequently and specials rotate in and out as fish becomes available. Staple dishes include the chirashi ($12.95) and ahi sampler with spicy tuna and ahi poke ($11.95).

The ahi sampler had a deluxe version on one of my visits ($13.95) and included two ebi fry. The spicy ahi is creamy, flavorful and filling. I'm a huge fan of his sushi rice that has a touch of sweetness that is quite masterful. Everything in the dish is well-executed including the two generous pieces of tamago. Photo by Thomas Obungen

A deluxe ahi sampler special ($13.95) included two ebi fry (panko-fried shrimp). The spicy ahi is creamy, flavorful and filling. I’m a huge fan of Boa’s sushi rice: It has a touch of sweetness that is quite masterful. Everything in the dish is well-executed including the two generous pieces of dashimaki tamago egg roll. – Photo by Thomas Obungen

So why the name Boa? “I wanted to name my restaurant something meaningful,” Young says. “I practice (Brazilian) jiu jitsu and decided on ‘boa’ – it means good in Portuguese.”

The tekka don is a rotating special that I've only seen once on the menu. Boa uses high quality fish and offers it at a reasonable price. Photo by Thomas Obungen

The tekka don is a rotating special that I’ve only seen once. Boa offers high quality fish at a reasonable price. – Photo by Thomas Obungen

Young goes to the fish auction to handpick the fish he serves at the restaurant. His prices are fair for the quality and Boa has become one of my favorite grab-and-go spots for lunch in downtown.

Spicy tuna roll ($10.95). They give a generous portion of sashimi grade spicy ahi in their maki. Photo by Thomas Obungen

Spicy tuna roll ($10.95): a generous portion of sashimi-grade spicy ahi. – Photo by Thomas Obungen

Owner and sushi chef, Brandon Young.

Owner and sushi chef Brandon Young.

Boa Sushi Cafe
1111 Bishop St. Suite #4
585-8185
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