Restaurant Review: Kanpai

Kanpai was not part of our 2013 Restaurant Resolutions list-because we did not even know it existed! Oh the things we miss living and working outside of downtown. Our friends Ashley and Curt invited us to dinner there for Ashley’s birthday last week, and when we Googled the location we realized it was the old Nanakusa. We then realized we hadn’t been to Nanakusa in about 5 years…

Kanpai Inside View
The night we went was also Gallery Night in the Third Ward neighborhood, so the restaurant was packed and people were being given 30 minutes to an hour wait at the door. Luckily we had a reservation and sat at a high top table in the area between the sushi bar and the (liquor) bar. We can’t honestly remember how Nanakusa was set up, but this front ‘bar’ area has all high tops and seating along both bars. Further into the restaurant are sleek leather booths and some tables. Simple and modern.
Kanpai’s menu is split in two. One side is sushi, not surprising. The other side is Kitchen Selections, full of small plates for those diners looking for something less raw. In small plate dining, it is recommended to order 2-3 plates per person. We ordered 4 sushi rolls and 4 small plates which was the perfect amount for the 4 of us (and left us a little room for dessert!) I’m ashamed to say we did not take any pictures of this amazing meal, but we can describe to our best ability. You’ll just have to go there and try it out:)
Sushi Rolls:
Badger Roll: Tempura shrimp and avocado on the inside, topped with tempura snapper and unagi sauce. Crispy, balanced, not greasy. *Amanda’s Favorite Sushi*
Samurai Craving: Spicy yellow tail, lobster salad, jalapeno, and cucumber on the inside, topped with seared wagyu beef, eel sauce and tataki sauce. Served with a tempura onion ring. The beef set it apart from traditional sushi and was perfectly cooked. *Dan’s Favorite Sushi*
Menage E Trois: Shrimp tempura, spicy crab, spicy tuna, crab salad inside, topped with salmon, tuna, blanco aoli and eel sauce. Crispy with a kick.
Spicy Tuna Roll: Typical classic done right.
Kitchen Selections:
Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops: Seared scallops with mango salsa, orzo pasta, and balsamic reduction. So good we ate all of the orzo after the scallops were gone! *Amanda’s Favorite Small Plate*
Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops
Via Yelp

Miso Braised Pork: Gochujang barbeque sauce and sauteed yuchoi (greens). Delicious with an unexpected kick!

Braised Short Rib: Soy-ginger braised short rib, sweet potato puree and sauteed bok choi. Tender, delicious tangy sauce. *Dan’s Favorite Small Plate*

Mango Shrimp: Butter soy grilled shrimp with mango salsa, yuzu reduction and white truffle oil. This was probably our least favorite as the shrimp was overcooked.

All in all, a really impressive experience. We’ll be back soon!