, 2502 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, (602) 955-2008,
The Hours: Between the hours of 3 and 7 pm, Monday through Friday.
The Details: $5 sake bombers, $4 wine by the glass, $6 specialty cocktails and carafes of sake at half price. A variety of rolls and appetizers are also included in the $4 to $5 price range.
(the happy hour break down after the jump)
The Interior: Stingray Sushi is a sleek and urban destination for sophisticated sushi. An abundance of dark wood, black chairs and deep orange and red paneling decorate the bar and patio area. While in the dining room and along the sushi bar, natural lighting brightens the room and highlights the clean, crisp color palate. Natural textures are reflected in the menu coverings, chairs and tiny bamboo plants decorating each glossy table setting.
The Cost: One sake bomber, a glass of wine, an iced tea, two rolls and two small appetizers came to a total of 29 dollars before tax and tip. Not too shabby -- and we all left satisfied.
The Conclusion: Stingray Sushi is an ideal option for a little post-work relaxation over sake and sushi on the cheap. The Sapporo was cold, the sake warm and fragrant, the wine just right for the price. The iced tea was a surprising and kind of strange combination of jasmine green tea and blackberry with hints of vanilla or some other earthy, sweet fragrance.
Be forewarned that some of the deals on the happy hour menu are far more generous than others, so make an informed decision and be sure to try a couple of specialty sushi rolls at less than half-price. Some of the menu items like the seaweed salad were only a dollar off, and were a bit meager in portion, so plan wisely to get the best bang for your sushi buck. The only things missing on this happy hour roster were the traditional edamame and miso soup ($4 each on the standard menu), both of which would have been lovely additions.
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The Seaweed Salad ($4) was a refreshing update on the standard mass of seaweed. Scallions, microgreens and scarlet roe accented the seaweed, and the dressing was light and vinegary. The Shrimp Shumai ($5), lightly sweet and salty shrimp dumplings, were also tasty but there was a bit too much filler-to-shrimp ratio. Plus with only four small dumplings on the plate there are definitely better items to sample in future visits.
The Dragon Roll ($5) was a favorite, filled with eel, avocado and cucumber sticks and topped with slices of eel and avocado that resembled the scales of a dragon. The roll was fresh and flavorful and the unagi (eel) sauce topping it was delectable. It was also a nice touch that the roll was rolled tight and small enough to facilitate easy eating.
The same could not be said for the Shrimp Tempura Roll ($4), which was a bit bland in comparison to its dragon counterpart and way too large and loosely rolled to easily eat. A strip of soggy shrimp tempura was featured along with cucumber and some other fixings, the whole of which create a strange vinegary aftertaste. Skip this roll and maybe try the calamari or shrimp tempura instead if you're looking for something light and crispy.
Overall Grade: B