Kanpai Izakaya’s cuisine pleases the palate


Becca Yi

The interior of Kanpai Izakaya exudes a serenity that promises delicious food and comfort.

Becca Yi, Editor-in-Chief

My eyes widened a little when I first walked into Kanpai Izakaya – the fusion of traditional Eastern and modern Western designs were arranged in such a way as to create a peaceful and spacious interior. I was immediately dazzled by the aesthetic decorum and had high hopes for the food. Because our family went on a Packer Game Sunday, we managed to avoid the usual dinner rush and enjoyed a delightful evening filled with excellent service.
Our salads came out right after we ordered, and I noticed the detail of presentation at first glance. I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed the salad, as I am not a big fan of the “greens family” in general. The dressing itself was a type of spicy ginger-mayo sauce, and though this combination sounds very strange, it was very much to my liking – I ended up eating the entire bowl.
Together, my family ordered eel, a nigiri and sashimi dinner combo, and three rolls to share. The taste of eel was similar to salmon, and to be frank, it wasn’t my favorite dish. I recognized the quality of the dish, but I am sure that a true seafood lover would be able to truly appreciate its taste. I would only recommend this dish if you are a seafood veteran. (AKA, if you don’t like fish, don’t eat it!) For those of you who are not familiar with sushi, nigiri consists of a piece of fish placed on top of a small rice ball. Sashimi is just fish, no rice. I thought Kanpai’s sushi and sashimi set was considerably better than the average sushi restaurant, as the pieces were generously cut and they practically melted in my mouth.
Everything we ordered was delicious, but the rolls were truly the highlight of the night; the Badger Crunch Roll was the real MVP. It was enveloped in a crispy tempura and had a sweet-and-salty flavor. In my opinion, it hardly ranked a 1/10 on the spice-o-meter (great for all ages!) and is now my personal favorite. The Dancing Dragon roll definitely had more of a fishy flavor, and was more spicy (5/10 on the spice-o-meter.) The selling point of this roll was the four different types of “toppings” in one roll, including tuna, salmon, eel, and shrimp. The Green Bay roll was a little too thick for my taste, as it contained some cream cheese. Again, this combination sounds a bit strange, but using cream cheese is actually commonly seen in sushi restaurants in America
After feasting on an enormous meal, a bite of mango and strawberry mochi ice cream was the perfect way to top it off. The only area of critique I managed to find is the high price – this is a restaurant that should be reserved for special occasions. But, then again, all (good) sushi restaurants can get a little pricey, so I managed to justify the price with the satisfaction I felt after leaving the restaurant.
I would certainly recommend Kanpai Izakaya for dining in and treating yourself to a lovely evening – perhaps for a special occasion. Embodying the traditional Japanese customs of hospitality and speedy service, Kanpai Izakaya proved to be truly impressive in terms of both atmosphere and cuisine.