Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Kanpai, Palo Alto

I recently learned that the owners of Menlo Park's Naomi Sushi -- a place Jon and I both like -- opened another Japanese restaurant in Palo Alto. Kanpai takes over the space formerly occupied by Jidai-ya. How do I know this? Because the chopstick wrappers still say Jidai-ya on them.

Details, people.

Anyway! In terms of ambiance and service, Kanpai is definitely a step up from Naomi. It's not too slick though, so you'll still be fine wearing jeans and sneakers here.

This is what we ordered:
  • San Jose tofu (deep fried cubes in a light, flavorful broth)
  • Edemame
  • Ikura (salmon roe)
  • Hamachi (yellowtail)
  • Toro (fatty tuna)
  • Kanpai Special Roll (tempura shrimp + avocado + eel)
  • Tempura asparagus
  • 49er Roll (tuna + avocado + spicy yellowtail)
  • Palo Alto Roll (um ... I can't remember!)
One of the nice things is that the nigiri is sold in single pieces ... Well, it's nice in that if you're just looking to sample something, you're only committed to one bite of sushi. But the prices are a bit steep, I think. Our overall dinner came to about $80.

I thoroughly enjoyed my selections, but Jon remarked that his -- which are the last three on the list -- were just okay. He thought the asparagus was too bitter and the 49er Roll not spicy enough. And this is coming from a man who doesn't even like really spicy food; I guess his point was that it was bland.

We ate fairly early last night -- and it was a Tuesday night -- so Kanpai wasn't too crowded during our visit. But I hear that the place gets packed later in the week and during the weekend. While I would definitely make a return-trip here, I may have a tougher time convincing Jon -- especially with so many other good sushi/Japanese food options in the area.

330 Lytton Avenue
Palo Alto, CA
(650) 325-2696