I was craving sushi today when I got off at the train station in Palo Alto. It’s been FOREVER!! In fact, this reminds me that I haven’t been to Zushi Puzzle in awhile. Must put that on the calendar. Anyways, Pdho and I ended going to Kanpai. Pdho is a bit particular when it comes to sushi. (I always liken him to a sushi snob.) I think that is partially why we don’t eat it as often as I like. It has to be really good in order for him to be satisfied. Nevertheless, this doesn’t affect my continued search, I just try and vet through them more thoroughly which is not an easy task considering the number of sushi restaurants out there. Sadly, sushi is so popular that this results in a gluttony of bad to mediocre sushi restaurants. However, Pdho had been here before and he said it was pretty decent, so after a quick perusal of the menu in the window, we went and started ordering.
I was actually very excited to try the White Tuna Poki Poki, but when it came out, it wasn’t at all what I expected. In general, the taste was okay for slices of tuna that were dressed with a soy-esque dressing. I just felt that it was neither white tuna nor poki. It looked more like regular tuna that might have been slightly seared so it looked white on the outside and where was the seaweed!?! Anyways, on its own, the dish was fine. It tasted okay. I think I was expecting something completely different and the disappointment couldn’t help but affect my ultimate judgment of the dish.
We ordered a mix of sushi and rolls. The menu was pretty straightforward in terms of the types of fish they offered, so we got yellowtail, toro and salmon sushi along with a Palo Alto roll, which essentially a spicy tuna roll topped with spicy yellowtail, and an El Camino Roll which had crunchy fried mini shrimps inside and eel and avocado on the outside. There isn’t much to say about the sushi, because generally speaking, okay sushi is similar to good sushi, and although the jump to great sushi is bigger, it’s still kind of hard to describe sometimes. Anyways, the Palo Alto roll was essentially a spicy tuna on steroids, but it wasn’t that overwhelmingly spicy. The El Camino roll was a little bit like a Dragon roll but instead of actual shrimp tempura, they used baby shrimp mixed with fried batter bits and creamy mayo.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the food. This place is probably better for the rolls, because the sushi itself isn’t anything special. However, I’m generally not as picky as Pdho though, so even though I said I wouldn’t mind coming back, he said he wouldn’t want to. Honestly, I’ve been to less appetizing places. The prices aren’t too unreasonable, and the food is decent. But I suppose the best way to sum it all up is… as Pdho often says, “It’s not bad, but it’s not GREAT!”
330 Lytton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301
PAFO Ratings for Kanpai Sushi:
Price 3 stars
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3 stars