Monday, January 08, 2007

Kanpai R0X0Rs!

Kanpai, sister to Naomi Restaurant in Menlo Park has been open in Downtown PA (on Lytton) right around the house from Chris' place for a few months. It's our go-to and the only place where they know us (outside of the bartender with the ponytail at Rudy's. Yes our lives are quite glamorous). This place isn't very cheap- but it's super comfy, boasts an elegant decor and fun staff. I had wanted to take a picture of Masa-san, the head chef who's usually there- he totally reminds me of a cartoon character, and Kyo, the sake expert and resident hot girl.

I ordered their omakase, and since I was a bit tipsy, I know I missed some dishes. But I'll reconstruct what I've got here. I highly recommend omakase if you've got the appetite and just let them know if there's anything you especially would like. We always sit at the bar.

Salmon Tataki

This salmon was rich and fresh. Grilled shishito peppers didn't add too much, but the ankimo, scallions and slightly spicy dressing was wonderful. The great thing about ankimo is that it's not too rich and it's not too livery so it didn't overwhelm the salmon. The scallion and spicy dressing set off the smooth salmon and ankimo.

Spanish Mackerel.... preparation unknown

I'm not sure if these pieces were sauteed or grilled but they were tender. The mackerel had somehow lost it's generally strong and fishy flavor, though it was still pretty oily. This dressing was citrus and I think had hint of jalapeno? It was set off with some pickled radish, diced kombu and also I think some scallions.

Grilled Duck Breast, Grilled prawn, and some sort of tempura fish

This one actually sort of made me sad, because it had been waiting for me for awhile and wasn't as warm as it should have been. Generally Kanpai's tempura is light and crispy. This was just a bit tepid. The duck breast was sweet, but again, a little tepid. The grilled prawn was perfect though- charred, simple, sweet.

Sushi plate

I was winding down by here. We've got toro, something that I forget, bruleed salmon, kanpachi and uni. Their fish is always fresh. It also doesn't hurt to ask if there's anything especially good in. They're really friendly and not intimidating (unlike at sushi tomi or even fuki sometimes).

Uni close up. Uni- How I love thee. You can see from this picture that the uni was pretty firm (not too liquid) and has been handled well. They were also pretty generous with it.

Their ikura is cured differently. The roe is just a bit smaller and the eggs are almost always intact. Seems like there's less coloring too. I really love the ikura here, but sadly, they'd run out.

I got pretty darn inebriated during this meal so I apologize for the memory lapses. There was no especially good reason for me to get this tipsy, except that Saki was in town and I was in a good mood. Sometimes life is like that! I was wearing a shirt with some sequins on it (not nearly as tacky as it sounds), and that also always seems to compel me into a little bit of a "state."

Also, if Deuce ever reads this, I really apologize. I will never ever get in the way again!


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