In our past conversations, I learned that John Manzo really likes the food at Kanpai Sushi on 8th. I figured as I liked his last sushi recommendation, Red Ember, I ought to try it. Before entering the restaurant, I noticed a help wanted sign. I didn’t think much of it until I walked inside and I saw a long line of customers waiting to pay at the till. I waited at the door for a while, until a chivalrous customer saw me and waved the server over. She asked him what he would like, and he pointed to me and said, “She needs a table.” The server apologized and immediately seated me.
The interior of the restaurant is nicer than the average sushi joint in Calgary. The booths are comfortable, clean and match the decor of the room. The window allows in natural light, as well as curious peeks from pedestrians.
There was a sheet of lunch specials, and trying to be healthy, I ordered the love boat special ($11.50), which consisted of a salmon roll, one piece of a tuna and salmon nigiri, and three pieces of salmon sashimi. The tea ($1.00) arrived in a red ceramic pot. The complimentary miso soup was very good, albeit salty. The slivers of green onion were aromatic, the tofu was firm and silky, and the seaweed was soft and silky.
I like that the nori was still crisp. The salmon in the sashimi, nigiri and roll was buttery, sweet, and bite size. I thought the fish in the love boat special was fresh and delicious, but I was still hungry after eating the love boat special, so I ordered the Delicious Roll ($15.00).
I asked the server if I could omit the balsamic vinaigrette, as I prefer my sushi with just a kiss of soy sauce and wasabi. The roll was large, a total of nine pieces. I like that there was no mayonnaise in the imitation crab, which was fluffy and sweet. Kanpai didn’t skimp on the scallop, which was not in the least fishy. The Delicious Roll was huge, though I was uncomfortably full after eating it.
I enjoyed the ambiance, service and most importantly, the seafood at Kanpai. The prices are reasonable given the quality of the fish. I would like to return to see what their kitchen dishes are like, such as ebi mayo, agadashi tofu, and calamari.