If you've ever been to Hawai'i, you've probably heard of the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a (pron. hoomoo-hoomoo-nookoo-nookoo-ah-poo-ah-ah), or reef triggerfish, the state fish of Hawai'i. It's really fun to say, and always impressive when you can work it into conversations, as in, "We were snorkeling off the Big Island and Dave just fell in love with the color of the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, so we decided to paint the living room to match."
I doubt if that particular fish is served at Hama Sushi, tucked into an unassuming storefront next to the old Trader Joe's on Sandy Blvd., but this place has some of the best, freshest and most dazzlingly prepared sushi in town. There aren't any tatami mats or intricately calligraphed murals or waitresses in kimonos gliding about the the place; if anything, it's very much like a neighborhood hangout you'd find in any town in Japan. A few tables against the walls, a whiteboard listing the day's specials and a sushi chef behind the seating at the counter (and no goofy headband or knife-twirling, thank you very much).
The food is exquisitely prepared, and because of the decor described above, the prices are much less than you'd see at most fancy dinner houses. Which means you can order as much as your heart (or stomach) desires without taking out an equity loan. We started with softshell crab (right), a fresh whole critter that had been simply fried and chopped and was, frankly, terrific. Then came tempura calamari, chunks of the tenderest squid dipped in tempura batter, perfectly fried and served with a light dipping sauce. For our sushi we chose various pieces of salmon, tuna, mackerel, roe and two smaller rolls. All were smashing, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Great for a casual dinner with friends or for that low-key special evening out, this spot is making its way onto our favorites list.
Details: Hama Sushi, 4232 NE Sandy Blvd. Phone 503-249-1021.