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Kalihi Eats: BLVD SNACK & Take-Out Sushi

After seeing and sampling some of the oishii grinds Diner E’s been getting from BLVD SNACK & Take-Out Sushi recently, I just had to go there and check it out myself. Which is where we’re at here today for this review.

BLVD SNACK & Take-Out Sushi is located in the Dillingham Trade Center on the makai (ocean) side of Dillingham Boulevard, right across the street from Honolulu Community College.

While their name and sign seems to emphasize this is a snack shop, there’s just as much, if not more reason you should go here for their take-out sushi, plus a few other Japanese specialty dishes that are all made-to-order.

When you think “snack shop” — especially in Hawaii — you might assume there’s gonna’ be crack seed, mochi crunch and other specialty snacks along that theme crammed wall-to-wall in it. But it’s not quite like that here. Instead, this is what you’ll find…

Well that’s quite an eclectic mix of goodies. Hey, they have Tim’s Cascade Barbecue Rings! Those are the ones I reviewed recently, describing how they’re a striking resemblance to the original Yick Lung Nibb-its. I’m curious about that Cloverhill Iced Honey Bun they’ve got there. Sounds like another “old school” favorite.  Them shrimp flavored crackers are OK, but I prefer the “regular” shrimp chips. Shucks, I shoulda’ picked up a canister of them Pocky Sticks. That woulda’ made a nice “dessert”.

Here’s the candy corner…

That, along with two refrigerators of soda, juice, tea and water, and that’s it for snacks. Oh, plus they also serve Bubble Tea Drinks…

Now we move on to the prepared Japanese foods they also serve…

When I asked owner Lina for permission to take these photos, she pointed out that the “menuboard” (picture wall) shown here is going to change in a few weeks. She didn’t really elaborate, but it sounded like she was going to have one professionally made where it was more organized and not all mixed up like it is here. As it is, it works for me. The pictures are nicely-photographed. Nice enough where I took pictures of those pictures…

Wow, even Shoyu Ramen! That entire menu looks oishii! So good, it was difficult coming to a final decision on what to order, taking me a few minutes just pondering.

Getting right to it, Diner E was in the mood strictly for sushi on this day, so he got four different hand rolls…


Left to right: Winner Roll (99¢), Tuna Roll (99¢), Crab Cucumber Roll (99¢) and California Roll ($1.65)

What bargains!

I decided on getting a California Roll as an “app”…


Blvd Snack & Sushi Take-Out – California Roll. $1.65

And for the main dish, the Kakiage Tempura Don…


Blvd Snack & Sushi Take-Out – Kakiage Tempura Don, $5.99

Here’s a hand roll next to a packet of shoyu to give you a scale of their size…

Here it is cut in half so you see what’s inside…

Imitation crab? Check. Cucumber? Check. Avocado? Check. Mayo’? Check. How is it? Perfect. All it was missing was some wasabi, which I forgot to ask for. But really, they should include a dollop by default. That’s our only complaint. Otherwise, the sushi rice is PERFECT, while the ingredients are all very fresh and tasty. Very solid 3 SPAM Musubi for the California Roll. If had wasabi, would have been a 4 (note to self: keep a spare tube of wasabi in office pantry).

Let’s check out Diner E’s hand rolls…

As you see, the cucumber crab roll is the same as the Cali’ Roll, sans the Avocado. His favorite one of all was the Winner Roll, which is a regular hot dog simmered in teriyaki sauce. So that one obviously had a “SPAM Musubi-like” thing goin’ on.  That always works.  With that, he gave his entire sushi spread a very satisfying 3 SPAM Musubi.

Now let’s try the Kakiage Tempura…

What this is is gobo (burdock root), carrots, green onions and shrimp rolled up into a fritter and fried in tempura batter. It’s really, really good! It’s kinda’ like a hash brown kicked up notches unknown to mankind, in Emeril’s famous words. I’m gonna’ have to look up a good recipe for this, as this is something I’d like to make at home some time soon. It’s served with tempura sauce, which of course seals the deal. Would have been even better if it had grated daikon (oroshi) in it.

The imitation crab and takuan tsukemeno also complimented the golden-fried tempura wonderfully, while like their sushi, the rice served in this don (bowl) was PERFECT. That said, I give their Kakiage Tempura Don a mega-oishii 4-SPAM Musubi. Yum, yum, yum.

Here’s some sushi rolls Diner E got from Blvd Snack from a past visit…


Tuna Roll, California Roll and Kim Chee Roll

Here’s a look inside the Kim Chee Roll…

We all agreed the Kim Chee was the only one that didn’t really match in sushi like this. It’s too overpowering. Perhaps if they put less Kim Chee and more rice it would have better balance. Add some bulgogi in there and it’d probably rock.

The tuna roll…

This one’s not bad, but it seems to be missing something. Perhaps some Furikake sprinkled on it would kick it up.

The California Roll…

This one’s very good. Very fresh ingredients and the sushi rice is perfect.

On another visit, Diner E also tried their Chicken and Gyoza Bento….


Teriyaki Chicken and Gyoza Bento, $6.95

This one got 3 SPAM Musubi as well.  The chicken was moist ‘n tender and coated adequately with Teri’ sauce, while the gyoza was also notably delicious with a nice crisp to it.

Also featured in a recent ‘Grindz of the Day’ post, once again here’s the Shrimp Tempura Bowl…


Shrimp Tempura Bowl, $5.95

3 SPAM Musubi on that one too.

Here’s owner Lina preparing our food…

There you have it. Perhaps you might be shopping at the Iwilei Costco and thinking to yourself, “I could go for some really good, freshly-prepared sushi right now. Not that refrigerated “rice pebbles” stuff they sell here.” If so, consider driving right up the street and around the corner to BLVD SNACK & Take-Out Sushi, where you’ll find that, plus many other delicious Japanese dishes, all made-to-order at family-friendly prices.  Also don’t forget to grab some Barbecue Rings (Nibb-Its knock-offs) and Pocky Sticks for “dessert” while you’re there.


BLVD SNACK & Take-Out Sushi owner Lina  gives a big “shaka”

BLVD SNACK & Take-Out Sushi
1007 Dillingham Blvd. #104
Honolulu, Hawaii  96817
Tel. 845-8282

Business hours:
Monday-Friday 6am ~
Saturday 8am ~

Menu (<—click to download/view PDF; 2 pages)

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)

14 thoughts on “Kalihi Eats: BLVD SNACK & Take-Out Sushi

  • December 12, 2009 at 3:40 pm
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    Alright, you guys have been spot on so far, all of the revues I’ve read on here are just the way I found them for myself. Today’s tip is no different. I tried the Spicy Ahi (Gunkan), The Kiss of Fire, and the Kalua Pork Handroll and all three were awesome. I’m digging the site! Thanks

    Reply
  • December 12, 2009 at 4:06 pm
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    Whoa! What is the “kiss of fire” all about? Super spicy tuna roll? Another awesome article. (Triple A) Thanks.

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  • December 12, 2009 at 9:37 pm
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    The kakiage tempura reminds me a lot of the Pilipino version, ukoy. Although of all the Pilipino restaurants in Hawai’i I have yet to see that on their menus, or for that matter sitting off to the side, already cooked up. When I make it, I normally use sweet potatoes, onions, green onions, and shrimp. Many of the recipes you’ll see use bean sprouts, but my stand out is the sweet potatoes. YUM! For the batter I’ve used varying “Flours”: regular all purpose flour, Mochiko, and/or sweet potato flour thinned out with water. There are varying recipes when you Google Ukoy, but maybe one of your Pilipino friends knows how to make it or someone who makes it. Here in the Bay Area, Valerio’s makes Ukoy but I didn’t see it when I was in Waipahu last time. Worth a shot? And it’s normally eaten, with a shoyu, vinegar, garlic mix but I like to eat mine plain.

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  • December 13, 2009 at 5:01 am
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    Dina, that Ukoy sounds interesting. Never heard of it before. I’ll ask Diner C about it. She should know. I can see the sweet potatoes making all the difference. Sounds yum!

    I forgot to mention that the Kakiage Tempura reminded me of Pajeon, which is a Korean style vegetable and seafood pancake. I’m sure there’s also a Chinese version of Kakiage Tempura, Ukoy and Pajeon. Perhaps Amy, Betty or Nate can chime in on that.

    HapaBento, as popular as it, I’m not really a spicy ahi fan. Next time I stop by BLVD SNACK, I’ll ask what exactly that “Kiss of Fire” Sushi is about. I’m assuming it’s simply a super-hot version of the spicy ahi sushi, although it looks like there might be shrimp in it (see the tail?).

    Mattf, they were still open? Their hours say 8am to ? on Saturday, and while I forgot to ask, I assume it’s either until they run out of food, or until the point where business is so slow they just call it a day, considering the industrial location they’re in, which is probably much less busy on the weekend.

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  • December 13, 2009 at 8:19 am
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    Not location near my old stomping ground from HCC. I get the spicy ahi and a bubble tea. It still more reasonable than heading to sushi restaurant to get it and bubble tea that you won’t find in other place.

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  • December 13, 2009 at 8:27 am
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    oop type O. Great location near my stomping ground. That when I at HCC getting pastries there.

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  • December 13, 2009 at 9:30 am
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    Those bowls look great!Wish there was a place like this in Wahiawa!

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  • December 13, 2009 at 1:18 pm
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    I’ve never heard of mayo on a california roll before. Is that common elsewhere or just in Hawaii? I don’t order them often, I’m partial to plain avocado or kapa. mmmm. Now I want some veggie rolls.

    That kakiage tempura looks DELICIOUS!!!! I can’t make fried foods for the life of me (even pancakes don’t come out well for me), but I wish I could for this. I’ve never seen it on the menu at any of the japanese places near me (DC).

    Reply
  • December 13, 2009 at 9:21 pm
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    Man, those prices are low.. I live relatively close to there, so I’ll check it out, looks good!

    When ya gonna do a review on Kin Wah?

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  • December 13, 2009 at 9:25 pm
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    Hmm, is it me or did the price for the Shrimp Tempura w/ rice change from 4.25 to 6 bucks?

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  • December 14, 2009 at 7:25 am
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    Pomai, I called one day ahead so food be ready next day for me to take to work and for co-workers too. They like the spicy ahi like me and .99 sushi roll also. Too bad it was too early for bubble tea or I would pick up one too.

    Since in the area I also pick up pastries at HCC for workers the price is good deal and fresh made. On day off I have hair trim and nails done at HCC too.

    Reply
  • December 14, 2009 at 7:00 pm
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    Amy, not sure if you got your order from BLVD SNACK yet, but when you do, please let us know what you folks thought of the sushi and other dishes (or bowls for that matter). Give it a Musubi rating!

    Ricky, not sure where you got $4.25 from. Was always $6 as far as I’could track back to.

    Ricky, I came close to ordering from Kin Wah on my last treck to Kaneohe, but ended up back at Dean’s Drive Inn. I heard KW isn’t as good as they used to be. Is this true?

    Holly, I’ve always known the California Roll to have mayo’ in it. It would be amiss without it. So I guess you haven’t really had a California Roll yet! Try making one yourself and add it. Make sure to use Best Foods/Hellman. Or, you can also try using the Japanese mayonnaise in the squeeze bottle, which is much, much more rich, but really good in Sushi! But yeah, that Kakiage Tempura IS delicious!

    Okihwn, as you’ve already shown, there sure were quite a few places like that back in Okinawa!

    Patty, I’m not a bubble drink fan. Those little tapioca balls aren’t appealing to me. I had a hunch many of you would shout-out about the Spicy Ahi. Again, not my bag. Just about everything else, you can sign me up!

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  • December 15, 2009 at 2:35 pm
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    Pomai, now I know you what you dig. Well some women are not really big meat and potato type which is fine . OK I say it 2 1/2 musubis for me and co workers. The hotdog roll I will get it on okazuya place with other things . I order the shrimp tempura bowl and but did not wrote about it for you wrote it already.

    Reply

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