Each week we venture to a new restaurant to check out what the spot has to offer during our favorite time of day — happy hour. Whether it's affordable appetizers, delicious drinks, jaw-dropping deals, or none of the above, we'll check out the situation and report back.
The Spot: Sushiholic
3957 East Camelback Road
The Hours: Sushiholic’s happy hour is available Monday through Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m.
Perfect For: Any casual get-together with friends, family, or coworkers during which sake bombs and eating with your hands are welcome.
The Interior: If you’re familiar with the strip mall that houses Sushiholic (located on the southeast corner of Camelback Road and 40th Street), then you already know the shops there don’t offer a ton of interior space. But what Sushiholic lacks in square footage, it makes up for in a clean, modern setup with a surprising amount of seating. There are about seven high-tops, 10 tables and booths, and about 10 countertop seats. Plus, there’s a small outdoor patio, which features a few more tables.
The Food: The happy hour menu features almost 20 different sushi items, including staples like the ever-popular California roll, as well as more colorful choices like the “fried” Las Vegas roll. We opted to keep it simple with a shrimp tempura roll ($4.50) and a crunchy roll ($6). The shrimp tempura roll had sizable pieces of shrimp, though the most flavorful part was the eel sauce drizzled over the top. The crunchy roll did have a nice blend of textures – it was topped with creamy imitation crab and crunchy crumbs – but much like the tempura roll, it was mostly the mayo-y crab and eel sauce that provided the flavor.
If raw fish isn’t your thing, Sushiholic has a solid selection of shareable appetizers. Crab puffs, jalapeno poppers, calamari and shrimp tempura, and garlic edamame stand out on the list and are available for $5 or $6 each. Miso soup, seaweed and squid salad, and a cucumber salad are ideal for single-serving or light eaters and are $3 or less.
We grabbed an order of crab puffs and spicy garlic edamame. The crab puffs were standard: crispy at the folds with a soft, creamy core, served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. The spicy garlic edamame was surprisingly delicious. Each piece was covered in a hot chili sauce and speckled with minced garlic.
The Drinks: Sushiholic has all your happy hour classics: sake, beer, and wine come in large and small sizes and range from $3 to $6. But it was the specialty cocktails that got our attention. We ordered a Naughty Ninja and Regretful Samurai (both $7) because why not? The Ninja mixed Malibu, spiced Bacardi, and Myers along with some O.J. and pineapple juice. The final result seemed to be more Malibu than anything else. Similarly, the Samurai combined PAMA, a pomegranate flavored liqueur, with pomegranate vodka, Chambord, more vodka, and sweet and sour. The dark ruby-colored drink mostly tasted like a more expensive vodka cranberry.
Conclusion: Sushiholic doesn’t look like much from the outside, but as far as strip-mall sushi joints go, it’s nothing to scoff at. The servers are fast and friendly, the restaurant is clean and comfortable, and there is plenty of seating (though it could seem cramped on a busy night). Even though the sushi wasn't anything special and the colorful cocktails left plenty to be desired, the prices seemed fair overall, and the happy hour menu is pretty long.
Don’t Miss: The spicy garlic edamame is a must-try.
Skip This: The fruity cocktails have fun names and bright colors, but you’d be better off just getting a sake bomber.
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.