Posts Tagged ‘kanpai’

Banzai to Kanpai! – Kanpai Bar & Grill

June 1, 2009

When I hear someone say “Eh, we go bar!” I picture some dark musky room with sweaty old men drinking cheap booze as they throw popcorn at the TV or complain about their nagging wives.

And although there ARE actually places like this, there are several watering holes around town that are working hard to completely wipe that image from your head. The relatively new Kanpai Bar & Grill (opened in September of 2008) off Ward Avenue is one such place.

“Kanpai” is the Japanese word for “cheers,” or to toast, and there’s definitely reason to raise a glass and give a little banzai to this “higher class” bar.

Kanpai Bar & Grill sign
Kanpai Bar & Grill sign

Why “higher class”? For one, they’ve done a number to the interior of what used to be Dixie Grill and Tio’s. Lots of great “dining” style seating (indoor and outdoor), three dart machines, multiple-touch screen game machines, and 11 or so flat screens showing the most current sporting events all complete the ambience. And we didn’t even mention the food. Not your typical popcorn and peanut collection here yo! It’s real, restaurant quality food and it’s off the hook!

Having owners/partners with many years of experience in the fine dining and food and beverage worlds probably has something to do with it.

The husband and wife dynamic duo of Nadya & Bryan Yamasaki has 17 years of Food & Beverage experience under their belts. Combine that with the culinary mastery of Neil Nakasone, Brandon Hamada, John Estrella, and Jensen Hirota (aptly named Quatro Foods) in the kitchen – with experiences at such places as The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong, Halekulani, Ritz Carlton, Ruth’s Chris, and Tokuname – and you’ve got yourself a winning formula for some of the best bar eats in town.

Two of their best sellers are the signature steaks (wafu or kim chee), and the shortrib loco moco.

Wafu Style Ribeye Steak with Kabayaki Braised Mushrooms and Onions, Daikon Oroshi, Garlic Chips, and Ponzu Sauce (12oz - $16, 16oz - $22)
Wafu Style Ribeye Steak with Kabayaki Braised Mushrooms and Onions, Daikon Oroshi, Garlic Chips, and Ponzu Sauce (12oz – $16, 16oz – $22)

Kim Chee Ribeye Steak with Kim Chee and Two Fried Eggs (12oz - $16, 16oz - $22)
Kim Chee Ribeye Steak with Kim Chee and Two Fried Eggs (12oz – $16, 16oz – $22)

Braised Shortrib Loco Moco With Natural Pan Gravy and Two Eggs - $12
Braised Shortrib Loco Moco With Natural Pan Gravy and Two Eggs – $12

Other customer favorites according to Nadya include the garlic soybeans ($7), ahi belly ($10), and something off of their daily specials menu.

Favorites of this writer include the Spicy Garlic Chicken, Pork Chops, and Fried Rice. What’s a good meal without rice right? Right.

Fried Rice with Two Eggs - $8
Fried Rice with Two Eggs – $8

Spicy Garlic Chicken - $8
Spicy Garlic Chicken – $8

Pork Chops with Sauteed Onions - $14
Pork Chops with Sauteed Onions – $14

Oh, and let’s not forget to mention their Saimin and Kalbi Fried Noodles.

Saimin with all the Fixins - $8
Saimin with all the Fixins – $8

Kalbi Fried Noodles - $10
Kalbi Fried Noodles – $10

How does Kanpai pull all of this off in such turbulent economic times?

Nadya explains, “In today’s economy, quality and value are important factors in any business. Providing good food with good value is a challenge that motivates us to meet and satisfy our customer’s expectations.”

This kind of attitude is what sets Kanpai apart from the rest. It also helps to explain the loyal customer base that packs this place on the regular.

So if you’re tired of eating peanuts with sweaty old men, give Kanpai a try the next time someone says “Eh, we go bar!” Your tummy will thank you.

Kanpai Bar & Grill
404 Ward Ave # 100
Honolulu, HI. 96814 (map)
(808) 593-9202
Open 11am to 2am daily

Boys’ Night Out

January 12, 2009

On Friday, wifey went out for drinks with her friend, so I decided to hang with a couple o’ friends for a good ol’ fashioned BNO (Boys’ Night Out). My friend Dave was flying in from Hilo on a later flight, so I first hooked it up with Bari to do what most straight men like to do together on a Friday night… shop and eat frozen yogurt. Ha!

OK, so before you get any ideas πŸ˜› , here’s why….

In preparation for my BJ Penn/UFC 94 flyaway (yep! I’m goin’!), I had to get some threads that would match the atmosphere I would soon be in: cold and testosteroney with some Vegas flair. And Bari scratched up the lens on his sunglasses so he had to get replacements. See, we had good kine, legit reasons for shopping. The fro-yo date however, I’ve got no excuse for! Nah, nah! We were actually hungry but wanted to wait for Dave to fly in before we full-on ate. So there! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, our hot date spot of the night would start at Ward Warehouse for some clothes/shades action and then to Menchie’s.

Boys' Night Out

Like its Manoa counterpart (Yogurtland), Menchie’s has a colorful interior…

Boys' Night Out

is self-serve…

Boys' Night Out

and has an assortment of toppings to choose from.

Boys' Night Out

Even though I never plan to, it seems that I always fill my cup to the brim with a bevy of randomness.

Boys' Night Out
A little macro action of my concoction

With the “I just landed” call from Dave, Bari and I walked off our yogurt and headed to Kanpai on Ward. It was bumpin’ when we got there.

Boys' Night Out

We ordered up a storm, including the braised shortrib loco moco…

Boys' Night Out

the spicy garlic chicken…

Boys' Night Out

fried rice with two eggs…

Boys' Night Out

and the Wafu style rib eye steak.

Boys' Night Out

With the eats, we shot the breeze and had a few shots (and a few more). It was overall, a fun night. How did you spend your BNO or GNO this weekend? (Hopefully, it wasn’t a Guy’s Afternoon In. πŸ˜› “The Office” watchers are (hopefully) laughing…)

Talk to me!
* What’d you do for BNO or GNO this weekend?
* Ever been to Menchie’s? What’d you think? Better than Yogurtland?
* Ever been to Kanpai Bar & Grill? What’s your favorite dish?
* Where should I hit up next?

Happy Funday Monday y’all!

Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!

December 9, 2008

Sorry gang! I tried to work on that wedding recap blog, but quickly realized that it’s gonna take some time for that one. Maybe next week? *blush*

In the meantime, I thought I’d talk about the tradition of “Banzai” at Hawaii weddings, and how ours went over. Four words: HI-LA-RI-OUS!

According to the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s web site, the significance of the Banzai toast is as follows:

The word banzai literally means “10,000 years” and is associated with long life. Banzai cheers are given at joyous occasions, banquets and gatherings, to express congratulations, encouragement, or celebration. Traditionally, the participants shout the word “banzai” three times in unison, raising their hands in the air each time.

It is customary to deliver two separate banzai cheers at weddings. The first, “Shinro shimpu, banzai!” means “long life and happiness to the bride and groom.” The second banzai is: “Raihin shoku, banzai!” or, more politely, “Raihin no minasama, banzai!” This banzai cheer means “Long life and happiness to all the guests!” In Hawaii, these wedding banzai cheers are often given as a special toast, with participants raising their glasses with each shout of “banzai!”

In my personal experience, I’ve noticed that the “Shinro Shinpu” one is usually done by a friend, and symbolizes good luck from the guests to the bride and groom. The “Raihin no minasan” one seems to usually be done by a family member and is to the guests.

I sound unsure because when I asked my parents (who are straight from the muthaland mind you) about the history of this tradition, they were baffled. It seems this tradition is not done at weddings in Japan.

So on to our banzai. If I had one tip to offer future to-be-wed peeps, pit two competitive friends against each other. It will make for an interesting challenge to them and an entertaining banzai for all.

One was the brother-in-law, and the other was his (and my) good friend. Before the wedding was even here, they wereΒ trash talking to each other as to whose banzai would be better. Following the wedding was no different. They were boasting about their own banzai and how junk the other guy’s one was.

As to who won, it depends on who’s asking. If it’s the BIL, he won. If it’s his/my friend, he won. If they both ask at the same time, it was a tie! πŸ˜›

Dave's Banzai Lee's Banzai

Both were hilarious as heck and we were definitely glad we chose them to do our Banzais. Much love to Dave and Lee! “Banzai, Banzai, Banzaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiii!”

Talk to me!
* Any funny banzai stories to share from your wedding or other weddings you’ve been to?
* Anything to add about the banzai tradition?
* Anyone else from Japan who can speak to this tradition in Japanese weddings?
* Ever did a banzai for a friend’s wedding? (this means they think you’re loud BTW πŸ˜‰ ) How’d it go?
* Did you use the banzai tradition at your wedding?
* Gonna use this at your wedding in the future?

Rockin’ It At Doraku

June 9, 2008

So your boy turned another year older in the 30s block this weekend. Hold the applause (or laughter). To celebrate, the peeps took me out to the new, funky sushi joint in Waikiki called Doraku Sushi. Since this is a blog, I won’t get too into reviewing the place in detail (with all the sake, I don’t remember much anyway :P). Instead, I’ll show you some pics of the eats, which is what y’all wanna see anyway right? So here we go!

Seared Tuna with Asian Salsa - Tuna tataki with Doraku signature sauce, mango, Ka ware, tomato, red onion, Ponzu ($12.95)
Seared Tuna with Asian Salsa – Tuna tataki with Doraku signature sauce, mango, Ka ware, tomato, red onion, Ponzu ($12.95)

Salmon Carpaccio - Served with creamy ginger sauce ($9.25)
Salmon Carpaccio – Served with creamy ginger sauce ($9.25)

Doraku Roll - Lobster, kanikama, cream cheese, tempura fried served with red and black caviar, scallion and spicy cream sauce ($12.95)
Doraku Roll – Lobster, kanikama, cream cheese, tempura fried served with red and black caviar, scallion and spicy cream sauce ($12.95)

Kanpai!
Kanpai!

Talk to me!
* Have you been to Doraku?
* What did you think?
* Do the photos look yums!
* Do we look drunk yet? πŸ˜›