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Top Pick Of The Week

May 31, 2005

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O-bento box sushi
There’s nothing fishy about this sushi: it’s all chocolate. Alas, this Golden Oke Box lacks a custom insert tray to secure the pieces, so it can only be picked up at the shop. Our friends obtained one and FedExed it to us. The shop will ship other styles directly.

suhi
It is with sadness that we learned of Koo-Ki Sushi’s decision to close in February 2008, after 13 years. We loved this product, and we wish founder Karen Sasaki all the best as she pursues her interests in fine art. Chocolate lovers interested in chocolate sushi should visit Romanicos.com.

 

Suedy's Koo-Ki Chocolate Sushi: Not Kooky At All


A mere decade ago, before there was a World Wide Web with e-commerce, electronic shopping carts and secure payments, there were small specialty food producers all over America who sold wonderful creations only to lucky locals. They didn’t even ship their wares to the next town: you either showed up at their shops and carried the merch away, or you did without.

A mere eight years ago, when our fellow NIBBLE editor heard about SUEDY’S KOO-KI SUSHI—a San Jose, California specialty boutique that combined our two favorite foods, chocolate and sushi—she had to set up her own pony express operation to get a box to us in New York City. A friend of a friend who worked in Silicon Valley was dispatched to San Jose to pick up the selection, above. She then handed it off to our mutual friend in San Francisco, an hour and a half south; who who handed it off to her fiancé, who took it to the office, bubble wrapped it and FedExed it east.

Was this orchestrated effort worth it? Heck, yes. It was the most memorable birthday gift we’d gotten before or since: stunning and delicious white Belgian chocolate sushi. The crunchy sweet Japanese-style rice cookies (koo-ki is a pun on cookie) are a sophisticated Japanese evolution of the Rice Krispies Treats concept. The pliant rice cookie against the white chocolate “fish” is an inspired pairing. We still use the lacquer oke box to serve hors d’oeuvres and other dishes.

From two feet away, the chocolate sushi confection can easily pass for the real thing. The concept was born when Karen “Suedy” Sasaki was developing a rice-based cookie recipe for a cooking contest. Noticing how much her mixture resembled the rice used to make sushi, the concept that became SUEDY’S KOO-KI SUSHI was born. Suedy and her sister opened a special order shop in the technology boom town of San Jose, selling by word-of-mouth and crafting each piece by hand.

Each piece of SUEDY’S KOO-KI SUSHI is made with meticulous attention to detail. Sushi bar and chocolate bar merge into one:

All of the “rice” is Suedy’s rice cookie, molded into nigiri pads and maki rolls. The “nori” is made of dark chocolate; “wasabi” is green tea flavored white chocolate; “shoga” is peach--colored, ginger-flavored chocolate.

There’s even a tiny plastic fish squeeze bottle, generally filled with soy sauce; here filled with chocolate syrup “shoyu.”

The sushi menu hits all the high points:

sushi Ebi
Individual pieces of chocolate sushi on chocolate plates make great party favors
and dessert courses.
  • Ikura (called Apricot Row by Suedy) is apricot-flavored gummi eggs
  • Maguro (Berry Maguro) is a strawberry-flavored chocolate tuna fillet with a milk chocolate hazelnut center
  • Futomaki (Fruit-O-Maki) is a medley of fruit-flavored pieces and caramel
  • Ebi (Great White Sushi) is painted chocolate atop a white almond filling
  • Tamago (Lemon-Egg) is a lemon-flavored omelet with lemon meringue filling
  • California Roll (Mau’i Maki) is a piña colada-flavored avocado and white chocolate crab stick roll with candy tobiko on the outside
  • Tako (Tako-Nut) is a slice of white chocolate filled with appropriately chewy coconut

The containers are beautiful, authentic, and reusable. Some, like my pony-expressed Golden Oke Box, are in-store items only since they don’t have protective insert trays to nestle the individual pieces of sushi. If you want a Golden Oke Box, you’ll have to cajole Suedy and assume the risk that pieces will topple over in transit (some of mine did); or, it may be easier to purchase an oke box at the nearest Asian products store and assemble your own from the contents of the paper washi boxes below.

Chocolate ChopsticksOther riches include “individual plates,” four inch square white or dark chocolate plates with your choice of any single piece of sushi (at right); chocolate chopsticks (at left); and Nekos (“Lucky Cats,” photo at bottom).

sushi

Apricot Row

A single piece of sushi on a hand-molded dark chocolate or a white-chocolate plateedged with edible copper or gold luster. Each plate is arranged with garnish, and wrapped in a gift box with gift tag. $15 for Apricot Row; $14 for any other flavor.

What to do with this wealth of not-kooky-at-all chocolate sushi? Aside from major gifts: the individual pieces on chocolate plates come in little boxes and can be used for smaller gifts, party favors, and impressive dessert courses at parties and special dinners. Serving them as a final dessert course instead of petit fours would be a pièce de resistance indeed. And your favorite sushi chef might get a real kick out of one (it sure beats the plastic ones he’s used to).

Trio Box Combo Box Special Sushi Box

From left to right: Trio Box, $30; Combo Box, $40, Special Sushi Box, $50

Like all chocolate, SUEDY’S KOO-KI SUSHI should be kept covered in a dry cool place, but not in the refrigerator. That is, if you can refrain from consuming it all at first sight.

—Karen Hochman

SUEDY’S KOO-KI SUSHI®

Chocolate & Cookie Sushi Confections

 

Suedy’s Obento (in black box at right)
$60.00

In washi paper boxes:

  • Trio Box: 3 pieces and garnishes
    $30.00
  • Combo Box: 5 pieces and garnishes
    $40.00
  • Special Sushi Box: 5 pieces and
    garnishes
    $50.00

All boxes are tied with a gold ribbon and gift card, as shown at right.

Purchase online at www.kookisushi.com.

Or by telephone: 1.866.465.6654

  • Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Pacific
    Time
  • Saturday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Pacific Time

Retail Stores:

  • San Jose, CA: 830 Jury Court, Suite 1
  • New York City: Dylan’s Candy Bar
    1011 Third Avenue @ 60th Street
    1. 646.735.0078

Shipping and taxes additional. Prices and flavor availability are subject to change.

sushi

Obento Box

OBENTO: This shiny black obento (lunch) box has 5 pieces of sushi: 1 piece each of Apricot Row (ikura), Great White Sushi (shrimp), Lemon-Egg (tamago), Fruit-O-Maki (futomaki), Mau’i Maki (California roll); plus wasabi, shoga, shoyu. Overall size 7-1/2" x 4-1/2" x 2-1/2", $70.00. For a larger gift, two trays may be stacked
to create a double decker box.


Neko Duo

CHOCO-NEKO is Suedy’s rendition of the chocolate Lucky Cat, the legendary lucky charm of Japan. Its pose welcomes customers to your business and visitors to your home and brings good fortune to your life. And if not, it brings luscious milk or white chocolate withan edible gold luster finish. The story of the Lucky Cat is included in each. Boxed set $21.00 (2-1/2" x 4-3/4") or $12.00 each (2-1/2").

 

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to your chocolate-loving, sushi-loving friends and to hosts and hostesses who are always looking for something new and exciting.

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