Lihu‘e’s own sushi superhero

Sometimes, being a titan can be tiring, and when a titans runs out of gas, nothing rejuvenates their superpowers like raw fish.

As the titans are often found honing various other superpowers at Rob’s Good Times Grill, it was only a matter of time before they found themselves there at the same time as sushi chef Ed Coloma, known to one and all as Scooby.

For sushi purists, he makes traditional Nigiri — rice and fish — with ‘ahi, hamachi and salmon. There’s no better way to taste the pure essence of raw seafood.

For those who love the more modern take on sushi — the creative, colorful combinations that explode with several flavors at once — Scooby’s got that too.

 ‘Hit us with your best shot,’ the titans said, and he did. As an aside, it’s never a bad idea to go with the chef’s choice any time you find yourself at a for-real sushi bar.

First up was a creation Scooby calls Snaxx. ‘Ahi, crab, salmon and avocado are rolled up with the rice and nori, then fried in tempura batter and drizzled with a sweet aioli. The flavors complement each other almost perfectly as they gently ease your tastebuds into a flavor profile that can only be described as oceanic — mildly salty and sweet, with the different fishes adding their own kick. He said his best-sellers are Snaxx and one he calls the Volcano — shrimp, crab, hamachi and avocado wraped in salmon and baked, then drizzled with sweet unagi sauce and sprinkled with furikake.

Next up was the Mushroom Bomber, a hit at the most recent Taste of Hawai‘i. Scooby has set up there for the last several years, and he created the Mushroom Bomber for last year’s event.

“By 1 p.m. it was gone already,” he said.

As the titans can attest, there’s no question why it sold out so fast. The mushroom, shrimp and crab, again battered lightly in tempura, goes off like a bomb in your mouth. Mushrooms might not be the first thing one thinks when one thinks sushi, but when balanced with the other ingredients, it all becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

As good as that was, Scooby saved the best for last:  the Rainbow roll. It was so stunning to behold, the titans almost didn’t want to eat it — almost. It’s crab, avocado and cucumber layered with ‘ahi, hamachi and salmon, with a sweet chili sauce drizzle.

“People ask why I call it the Rainbow,” he said. “Just look at ‘em!”

It tastes as good as it looks, if not better.

Scooby said he’s been rolling sushi since about 1997. At the time, he was a regular at a sushi bar in Santa Monica, Calif. The chef asked him if he knew anyone who wanted to learn the craft, and since he knew about sushi from working at Kintaro in Kapa‘a before moving to the Mainland, Scooby went for it.

“I learned the hard way; it was a busy restaurant right on the main street in Santa Monica,” he said.

He came back to Kaua‘i when his parents passed away  to help raise eight nieces and nephews. Soon thereafter, he started making sushi platters for parties and his sister suggested he start catering.

Thus was Party Sushi born. Because of its success, one seldom finds him at Rob’s on a Saturday.

From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays, sushi-lovers can find Scooby honing his superpower at Rob’s at 4303 Rice St. in Lihu‘e.  

From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, he offers a happy hour menu, and he also works in the kitchen from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, so titans can get their sushi fix later.

For more information, call 652-8780.

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