The Spot: Moira Sushi Bar & Kitchen
215 East McKinley Streeet, Phoenix
The Hours: Happy hour is Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Saturday 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Perfect for: Cheap drinks in a nice atmosphere.
The Interior: Moira is a small space on McKinley just west of Third Street, with high ceilings, a sushi bar, and tables. Light spills out of the spot's front windows during the day, and decorative red and blue lighting makes the restaurant inviting for the evening.
The Food: Moira's happy hour food menu is two pages long, with a side for sushi including rolls like a spicy lobster roll ($6), soft shell crab roll ($6), and veggie roll ($5). The other side of the menu details appetizers such as coconut shrimp ($6), squid salad ($3), and lobster nachos ($6).
We ordered the restaurant's fried calamari ($5), which came out lukewarm and with some pieces of squid slightly cold. The menu described the sauce with which the calamari came topped as "shiitake soy," but we found it lacked any sort of soy-sauce tang or even a hint of shiitake mushrooms. Instead, it tasted like a simple, but overly sweet sweet-and-sour sauce. The calamari was also heavily breaded to the point where we couldn't taste any squid. In general, the whole dish tasted like a frozen skillet dinner from the supermarket.
Next, we decided to try our hand at Moira's sushi, ordering the white blossom roll ($6), which comes with crab and cucumber and is topped with scallops tossed in a spicy aioli. It's worth noting that Moira's happy hour sushi menu features mostly rolls with a fried or cream cheese element, which never really bodes well for those who favor more traditional, fresh fish-based options. The white blossom roll was neither offensive nor extraordinary, bu the sauce on top felt a little too creamy and overpowered the scallops.
The Drink: Moira fares a little better with its happy hour drink selections, offering $5 glasses of wine, different Asian beers, sake, and well liquor ($5). There's a lot of variety in the wine list, including a Renegade red blend and Seven Hills riesling. Happy hour sake ranges from $2 to $7 and includes an option for sochu. Meanwhile, beers range from $3 Lucky Buddha to $6 Asahi.
At $3, it was hard not to enjoy the Lucky Buddha, which is brewed in China and comes in a pretty entertaining Buddha-shaped bottle.
Conclusion: The best part of Moira's happy hour is probably the prices: $14 is not bad for two appetizers and a beer. On the downside, none of what we ordered was really satisfying. There are better options downtown for sushi and drinks. While the atmosphere holds a lot of promise, nothing else about Moira knocked our socks off.
Don't Miss: Moira's prices and the time span of the happy hour, which can go as long as six hours on some nights.
Skip This: The calamari.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.