By Lora Chow
1054 Togoshi is a hot and new sushi restaurant in Kihei, Maui. The doors opened in February and we are so glad we decided to stop here for our first dinner on our island vacation. The restaurant is cozy that feels casual, but is extremely refined. There are three tables and 10 seats at the bar. This makes for an intimate experience with lots of personalized attention. We arrived at 8PM and got a front row seat at the sushi bar. From our perch, we got to see the master in action and learn more about this incredible establishment.
Chef Manabu Sugiyama was raised in Tokyo. As a young adult, Chef Manabu got itchy feet and wanted to pick up and move to America. A friend of his told Chef that there are three trades he could enter in America: masseuse, gardener, or a chef. Chef Manabu thought that being a chef sounded interesting. He learned how to prepare sushi then set off for Los Angeles in 1991.
Over the years, Chef Manabu worked and trained at top restaurants in LA and Hawaii. His final role was as Head Sushi Chef at Morimoto in Maui. He opened that establishment and worked grueling hours for two years before leaving to open his own restaurant: 1054 Togoshi.
Along with Chef Manabu, we were well taken care of by his associate, Waiola. They met at Morimoto and Waiola has been under Chef’s tutalege from day one. We asked for the best offerings of the day and were not disappointed. Chef Manabu receives a shipment of fresh fish twice weekly from Japan and we were the happy recipients.
We had a lovely sashimi platter. And, as all of us culinary geeks know, fresh wasabi is very flavorful, strong, and expensive. Our platter’s wasabi was made from a large helping of this root and the difference is undeniable. The real wasabi is the real deal! We requested sashimi as it is our preference to taste the fish, rather than have the flavor diluted with rice (no matter how tasty it is). Our beautiful platter consists of the most delicate, moist, and fatty delicious Toro. In addition, it had the wonderfully flavorful and oily Spanish Mackerel. The final species is Flying Fish (the fish that produces the delicious roe that is frequently served in sushi restaurants). Since Chef had fresh uni, we got a huge portion topped with edible gold leaf. Needless to say, this was a decadent meal! We also tried a couple of appetizers: Tsukemomo (Japanese pickles) and the incredibly rich and moist Miso Butterfish. YUM!
If you are in Maui, skip the other “well-known” sushi restaurants. Instead, check out this hidden gem before the word gets out on how incredibly fresh and tasty the fish is here. Not to mention the service and personal attention you receive to complete this lovely dining experience.
An insider’s tip from us: Try to dine on Wednesday or Saturday when the Chef receives his shipment of fresh fish from Japan.
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