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Kanpai offers new kaiten sushi menu


Kanpai, 408 E. Chicago St., arrived on the scene in August 2012 and quickly established itself as a cutting edge and quality-oriented Asian fusion restaurant with an emphasis on Japanese dining.

For its first anniversary, Kanpai offered an evening of "nude sushi" featuring a model adorned solely with seaweed, raw fish and flowers.

"It was very tasteful," says Peter Hur, general manager.

Now, Kanpai is introducing another new concept called kaiten sushi, which means "rotating sushi" in Japanese and can be thought of as Asian small plate dining.

In other cities, the small plate items are placed on a conveyor belt and diners grab what they want. Kanpai will not have the conveyor belt, but will offer a similar concept. Instead, diners will receive a paper menu featuring dozens of Japanese small plate items ranging in price from $2.95 to $5.95 and will check off what they want on the menu.

Kaiten sushi is sometimes referred to as "Japanese fast food," which can be misleading because the kaiten portions are smaller and it does take less time for the chef to fulfill orders. But, because everything is made to order, it's not fast food in the American sense of the term.

When a conveyor belt is used, the dining experience is more fast food-oriented but Hur says it compromises freshness.

"Items on the conveyor belt sometimes rotate for hours, but our items are always made fresh," he says. "Freshness and quality of our ingredients has always been one of the things that sets us apart from other restaurants. Especially when you are eating something raw, you don't want to skimp on ingredients."

The kaiten concept is very popular in Japan and other large cities in the United States with a lot of people living fast-paced lives.

Hur, who was born in Korea and moved to the United States when he was 12, grew up eating a lot of Japanese food. Prior to opening Kanpai, he worked as a software engineer in Chicago where he regularly ate at a kaiten sushi restaurant with a conveyor belt.

During our recent kaiten sushi lunch, we did marvel at the freshness of the 10-plus items we sampled. Particularly the take (octopus), which was soft and pleasingly odorless, unlike other octopus experiences elsewhere in the past. The spicy pork and wakame (seaweed salad) also tasted extremely fresh.

Equally as satisfying to us was the artistic and colorful presentation. It was particularly appreciated during the arduous winter.

In fact, The tobiko (flying fish roe) was almost too pretty to eat and the dragon rolls were some of the most attractive pieces we'd ever seen. We also tried some new items, including short ribs and a Japanese version of jalapeno poppers, tempura rolls which are a cross between tempura and maki rolls.

Kanpai is owned by Brian Park, who also owns Wasabi in Brookfield and the recently opened Stone Bowl Grill, 1958 N. Farwell Ave.

The kaiten menu is available from Sunday through Tuesday for lunch or dinner. The prices are the same all day.

"We had been talking about offering kaiten sushi at Kanpai for a long time. We are always looking to bring new concepts to Milwaukee that might be fun for our customers," says Hur.


Talkbacks

Kanpai | Feb. 4, 2014 at 8:16 p.m. (report)

Kaiten Sushi itself refers to the rotation of small-portioned plates which are color-coded to represent their price. With traditional Kaiten, the plates are pre-made and presented on a conveyor belt for diners to help themselves; however, our version offers the added advantage of freshness, since all our plates are made to order. Additionally, our Kaiten Sushi is presented by our warm, knowledgeable staff in Kanpais sleek yet welcoming surroundings. We feel its the best of both worlds. To simply call this small plate dining would be an understatement; what were offering is a whole new form of dining. We hope you all will stop in to experience it for yourselves! Weve been getting an amazing response to it thus far. To learn more about Kanpais form of Kaiten Sushi, please visit our website: http://kanpaimilwaukee.com/kaiten-sushi/ -Sally Fothergill, Marketing Manager at Kanpai

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Photodavie | Feb. 1, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. (report)

Kaiten sushi is actually fast-food sushi. The whole concept is that it is pre made and in front of you to grab and eat immediately (quickly). I've been to several establishments in other cities that called themselves Kaiten sushi restaurants. All had pre made sushi for quick purchase. Great for a quick pre-show dinner, or an alternative to stopping at McDonalds for a quick meal. Don't get me wrong, I love Kanpai and the new menu sounds interesting. BUT it is NOT Kaiten sushi. It's just new small plate items on their menu.

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