Maui Down: Vegan Sushi at Choice Health Bar
Written by: Ben Ferrari Photography by: David Kupferberg and Ben Ferrari

So, in case you didn’t know.  I up and bounced to Maui for a while.  Whilst up in Maui, I am getting to eat tons of ridiculous food.  Food on Maui is awesome.  There are tons of big plate Hawaiian local food spots serving up straght crack in the form of surf and turf and there’s awesome locally grown tropical produce everywhere you look.  One spot that is totally crushing the local produce game is Choice Health Bar.  Choice is a vegan juice/salad/smoothie bar on the West Coast of Maui in Lahaina.  It’s tucked away between a headshop and an antique furniture store in one of Maui’s many non-descript looking drive-in shopping centers. 

During the day, the place is as popping as the Startbucks in Astor Place, with the sound of fruits grinding and names being called out, it’s literally bananas in there…  At night though, it flips a 180 and turns into the most innovative Vegan Sushi restaurant I’ve ever heard of.  The chef, Takashi Asakawa or “Asa’ for short, used to be the sushi chef at Nobu at The Four Seasons on Lana’i and he’s restricted entirely to the buying that the juice bar does during the day.  When ‘Vegan Sushi at Choice” started out, the chef dropped some tempura onto the menu, but due to the potential for the place starting to smell like a fry joint, they nixed that.  That step seems to have been the transportive step that was necessary to catalyze what is now going on full steam in the kitchen.  The stuff is maddd good.  Asa is dehydrating tomatoes to make them look like Ahi.  They have a mushroom soup that is silly good.  We had the sampler platter which came out looking just like any other sushi restaurant and they have some roll made with local fig, some kind of pesto and a macadamia nut that could win Top Chef. 

The ingredients are all sourced locally where possible by owners, Emily Kunz and Katheryn Dahm, who started Choice a few years ago when they decided to make one of the best juice bars in the world, which they did. Now, they seemed to have stumbled onto to something totally crazy with this vegan sushi thing.  The crazy thing is not that they are making it, but that I have never had it before.  You’d think living in New York City for so long I would have eaten some really amazing vegan sushi.  But I haven’t.  I honestly don’t know if it’s even a thing, anywhere.  But this sh*t is good!  Peep some pictures from last night and find some bomb vegan sushi for yourself if you can… Cheers!

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