PURE Sushi Bar in Scottsdale: Happy Hour Report Card

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The Spot: PURE Sushi Bar 20567 N. Hayden Road 480-355-0999 www.puresushibar.com

The Hours: Happy hour is offered from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday

See also: ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale: Happy Hour Report Card

The Interior: If you're searching for that posh north Scottsdale vibe, then PURE Sushi definitely fits the bill. The bright restaurant features white booths and chairs contrasted by dark wooden tables and floors. Inside there's a sushi bar with more than a dozen seats as well as a traditional bar where you can belly up and enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine. It's separated from the dining room by a row of modern-looking white trees. There's also a spacious wrap around patio and a private dining room.

The Food: PURE Sushi offers a selection of maki sushi rolls and appetizers for happy hour and all of the options are under $7. Options include sushi favorites like a spicy tuna roll ($4) and a few more interesting offerings including Korean BBQ Grilled Pork Ribs ($7). We started with an order of the Pork Gyoza, which came with six delicate dumplings and a side of dipping sauce. For $3 we thought it was a pretty great deal, especially since the gyoza were filled with a flavorful, moist pork mixture. The outsides were doughy but also nice and crisp on the bottom and the dipping sauce added a nice bit of spice.

Next we tried an order of the Yellowfin and Ahi Tuna Poke. For $7 you get five taro chips topped with marinated fish. Our ordered didn't look or taste like it had any Yellowfin in it, just tuna, but the fish was fresh and marinated in a nice sauce. The menu promised white truffle infused Asian vegetables and we did get a hint of rich truffle flavor, but were surprised to find a sprinkling of cheese on top of the fish as well. Cheese on raw fish? Not our favorite, though thankfully there was little enough that it was mostly inoffensive.

We also tried one of the happy hour specialty rolls, the Fire Dragon roll. It combined shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, and cucumber inside the roll, with fresh tuna, jalapeno, and cilantro on top. Considering the name and the fact that it was supposed to have jalapeno in it, the Fire Dragon roll didn't really live up to it's spicy-sounding name. But it was a pretty large roll for the $6 price tag and didn't taste like the sushi chef's were skimping on the fish.

The Drink: Happy hour at PURE means $3 off all cocktails, wines by the glass, and sake off the regular menu, as well as $2 off bottles of beer. Not bad deals, but we decided to go with a couple drinks off the happy hour cocktail menu. The PURE Cool Cucumber, regularly $14 but discounted to $7 during happy hour, offered Nolet's Silver gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and freshly pressed cucumber. We had ours as a martini, though you can also get it with a splash of soda served as a cocktail. It wasn't the most original drink we've ever encounter but it was strong, refreshing, and quite enjoyable. We had no complaints.

On the other hand the PURE Purple Haze, also $7, was far too sweet. The drink combined Smirnoff Blueberry vodka, Chambord, Nigori sake, and white cranberry making for a potent but very syrupy-tasting concoction.

The Conclusion:

For a sushi fix that won't break the bank, PURE isn't a bad option at all. Particularly if you live in the north Scottsdale neighborhood. We'd have to recommend you stick to the basics though, rather than opting for the more expensive and interesting dishes as they can be hit or miss. The same is true when it comes to the drinks. Stick to what you know you'll like and you're in for an enjoyable meal.

Grade: B

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