Kanpai Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill & West LA

I heard about Kanpai from my sushi nazi friend.  She told me that it was on par with Sushi Zo, so a group of friends and I have been here multiple times for dinner. 

Kanpai Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill
Assorted Nigiri

We arrived about 15 minutes early and had reservations at 8pm.  They didn’t seat us because it wasn’t 8pm yet and I was fairly hangry.  We were seated at 8pm and started to look through the menu and then decided to go with omakase.  Peter, our waiter/host, came by and started to explain the different levels of omakase, which were traditional, fusion, or a more Americanized version.

We decided to go with the fusion omakase cause I didn’t want to sit there and eat California rolls all night.  I’m a big proponent of omakase because you really get to see how great the sushi chefs are at their trade.  Well, that and cause I’m a fat ass.  If you aren’t doing Omakase, you’re doing it the wrong way.

Kanpai Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill
Asahi Black

Anyways, Peter was great because he explained how every dish was prepared as I was stuffing my face and stealing my friend’s food as they listen attentively.  He was very friendly and told us his background regarding his experience with sushi.  He asked what was our best sushi experience was and we all mentioned Sushi Zo.  He was interested in what made Sushi Zo such a great experience because he wanted to improve the experience at Kanpai.  However, I was only interested in stuffing my face until my food coma kicks in, which it did after the meal.  It’s a balancing act I’m trying to overcome these days.

Now, the important stuff.  The food.  I’m only going to mention my favorite items on the omakase menu, which are the following items:

  1. Oysters and tamago with caviar – The course was presented on spoons and an oyster.  The monk liver had caviar on top and the oyster was dress in ponzu sauce.  The fresh oysters was vibrant and the monk fish liver was rich in texture.  The luxuries of the sea.  It was a pretty looking dish and I had no idea why they place an unedible flower in the middle.  It’s like the fairy Snapchat filter.  There’s no point to it cause it’s not like we forgot how you look.
    Kanpai Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill
    Oysters and tamago with caviar
  2. Buttery sea bass – The Chilean Sea Bass on a stick and coated with butter.  The soft fish had a wonderful taste with the seared marks added an extra flavor.  It was fun to eat since it was presented like a lollipop.  However, I don’t recommend waving it around cause it might hit someone in the face and it’ll be a waste of food.
    Kanpai Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill
    Buttery sea bass
  3. Uni – Santa Barbara uni was silky and decadent.  They were very generous with the uni and it melted away on your palate like the make up on women at raves.  However, this was still pleasing to look at.
    Kanpai Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill
    Uni
  4. Kobe beef – The medium rare American Kobe beef served on a bed of rice.  The buttery texture tasted great and the added sauce was a nice touch.  It’ll have any vegan or vegetarian running for the hills, which is fine with me cause more for me.
    Kanpai Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill
    Kobe beef
  5. Spicy Miso Ramen – The salty ramen was a rich in flavor and the portion size was massive.  The bamboo shoots would make Mr. Miyagi eat it rather kick it.  The braised pork was decent; however, it wasn’t as good as my favorite Spicy Miso Ramen bowl from Santouka.  Lastly, this wasn’t part of the omakase and something I ordered on the side after the 18 course omakase.  I know what you’re thinking.  How does one consume a massive bowl of ramen after an 18 course meal?  Well, the answer is simple.  Before I started on this bowl, I went and took a massive dump.
    Kanpai Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill
    Spicy Miso Ramen

Lastly, I would have to say that Kanpai was a great experience from the food to the waiter and to the atmosphere. The main issue I have with Kanpai is consistency.  When Kanpai is on top of its game, it’s amazing; however, when it’s not, it’s a decent sushi restaurant.  I’ve been here multiple times and the quality and execution varied.  I guess it’s like that meme.  If you can’t handle me at my Lil Kim, you don’t deserve me at my Beyonce.

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  • 7.5/10
    Service - 7.5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Presentation - 7.5/10
  • 7/10
    Flavors - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Decor - 6/10
  • 7/10
    Ambiance - 7/10
7/10

Summary

When Kanpai is on top of its game, it’s amazing; however, when it’s not, it’s a decent sushi restaurant. If you aren’t doing Omakase, you’re doing it the wrong way.

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