The Spot: Kanpai Sushi, 690 S Mill Ave, Tempe, 480-272-8211 http://www.kanpaisushiaz.com
The Hours: Everyday from 3 to 7 pm, with a reverse happy hour Thursday through Saturday from 9 pm to midnight.
The Details: Kanpai Sushi has a $5 sake bomber all day, every day. They also offer a half-priced discount on a large variety of sushi rolls and appetizers. If a giant beer and warm sake aren't going to cut it, they also offer $2 domestic drafts, $3 import beers and $5 specialty drinks.
(the happy hour break down after the jump)
The Interior: Kanpai Sushi is located in the old Uno's building and maintains the same set up, with the restaurant separated from the bar. Exposed brick from the old pizzeria graces the walls, and the whole place seems a bit cavernous and empty, even during happy hour. Overall, kind of a bland restaurant set-up.
The Cost: Two sake bombers, three rolls and the miso soup came to $22 before tax and tip.
The Conclusion: Kanpai is a decent sushi happy hour if ambiance is not high on your list of priorities. It kind of has the personality of a hospital cafeteria. We felt awkward dining in the empty bar area on a Friday night, and equally as out of place in the sushi half of the joint on a separate occasion. Make sure to BYOP (bring you own party) because it's been pretty empty every time we've attended. Maybe reverse happy hour is where the party's at.
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There's one thing that Kanpai does well and that's cater to its ASU heavy clientele with sake bombers on sale all day, every day for five dollars flat. Our warm sake and cold Kirin went down very smooth on an unseasonably warm winter evening. We did not have the opportunity to try any of the specialty cocktails with fancy names like the Irishman in Tokyo or the Asian Persuasion, although they looked pretty when the bartender was making them for other customers.
A good amount of tofu chunks and seaweed was afloat in our miso, which is always welcome. The sushi was fairly forgettable though. One thing that does score points is the manageable size of the rolls compared to that other unnamed restaurant down the way. Each piece was bite sized and didn't leave us feeling like Godzilla laying waste to a high rise of sushi rice and filling.
A solid spot if you find yourself in downtown Tempe, but by no means a destination happy hour.
Overall Grade: B-