Kanpachi Japanese Restaurant
457 Broadway West
[prefectionist1] I had my eye on this newcomer to the Cambie Village Restaurant scene and I was happy to take up Shokutsu’s offer of grabbing a bite to eat. With the recent opening of the Canada Line, Kanpachi is in an ideal visual location as it is one of the first restaurants you see upon exiting the the new Broadway/City Hall Station. It seemed like the the Russian cuisine restaurant Rasputin, was transplanted overnight with yet another Japanese restaurant. I had walked past Rasputin on several occasions but with the dark interior, I was never tempted to sit down for a meal. Kanpachi provides much improved street appeal and I also heard a few things about the new digs before we decided on it for dinner. BBQ was on my mind but that’ll have to wait for another day…
Sushi Shoot ($3), essentially seared tuna.
[prefectionist1] It seems that whenever I get together with Shokutsu, we tend to have the same approach to menu selections… Either we go for the most obscure, or the most traditional items. My thought process is that if you are going to push the culinary boundaries, go to the extreme; if you go traditional, do it right and have respect for the original creation.
The menu at Kanpachi was straightforward with everything on the menu being relatively inexpensive. The first choice for dinner this evening was the Sushi Shoot which was just a fancy name for seared maguro (tuna) nigiri sushi. On the palate, the ponzu infused diakon overpowered the delicate flavor of the maguro.
It may be my opinion, but searing raw tuna serves to add complexity to the generally light flavour profile of the fish. With the heavy handed addition of the ponzu infused/soaked diakon, I wasn’t overly sold on the dish. It wasn’t bad, nor exceptional so I would give it a <shrugging shoulders> “meh”…
[shokutsu] I’m all for light searing, especially when it involves quality maguro (tuna). I think we were more intrigued by the name of the item more than anything else. The fish itself was pretty good in terms of its texture and flavour. On the topping, I’m with prefectionist1, it didn’t do much for me either.
[shokutsu] If my memory serves, these came out pipping hot. The amount of pork in each pocket was also substantial, and the ginger element was on the high side. Perhaps off-putting to some, but I like how it cuts through any of the overbearing meatiness and oiliness. Overall, I’ve clearly had better.
[prefectionist1] Growing up I was never a fan of gyoza and I’m not really sure why. I also didn’t like vegetables either… Things have since changed and ever since my gyoza relevation, it’s something I’ll typically order. It’s not difficult to make an acceptable gyoza and these were exactly that. They didn’t appear to be gyoza out of a bag, but they were nothing spectacular, again just a “meh”. However, taking the $3.75 price into consideration, these were definitely the best value for the dollar!
Tuna karaage ($5.25)
[shokutsu] I felt this dish was a venture into something different, as when it comes to karaage, one usually thinks of chicken. The Sriracha sauce that I’m not a huge fan of to begin with, I don’t think did anything for this. I would have preferred it without, and just used the lemon.
[prefectionist1] Interesting that you thought it was Sriracha, to me it reminded me of buffalo wing sauce and had a pronouced vinegar base. I actually remember thinking that I can’t believe this isn’t chicken. Upon closer examination, I noticed the flaky texture of the meat which convinced me that it was actually tuna. I’m pretty sure I would guess boneless buffalo chicken in a blind taste test. I would have preferred they topped off the dish with the diakon ponzu from the sushi shoot, I think it would have been a far better match.
Deluxe Sushi ($10.50)
[shokutsu] First off, I’ll say that it sure looked pretty, in an almost factory produced kind of way. Nothing messy, over-spilling, poor jagged cuts on first glance, but oh was the rice compacted too tightly! The quality of the fish to use a general descriptor, was just mediocre. The items on this plate disappeared very slowly, as neither of us was in any rush to consume them.
[prefectionist1] Fully agree with you on this one, nothing horribly wrong, nothing spectacular. On future visits, I think I’ll stick with the sashimi.
Assorted Tempura ($7)
[shokutsu] First off, the volume of the plate shocked me. That was a lot of tempura and the size of each was big too. It did have a really good jagged and crispy coating, not that overly fluffy and soft kind you too often get in many places claiming to offer Japanese cuisine. You know the kind, more representative of the outer coating you get on a corndog at summer amusement parks.
[prefectionist1] Mmm, cord dogs… I haven’t had one of those in years and it’ll probably stay that way :). I was happy to see that they were using fresh oil to fry their tempura as indicated by the light color of the batter. Overall, decent quality, good quantity and excellent value…
[prefectionist1] Service was good and the food arrived at our table in a timely manner, however it wasn’t overly busy this evening. Tea and water were refreshed on a regular basis without being too over attentive and the place is clean. I”ll go back, but I’m in no rush and I would probably skip the tuna karrage next time and try the sashimi options. If you a looking for a decent meal at a value price, Kanpachi is definitely an option. With it’s high visibility outside of the Broadway/City Hall Station, they have situated themselves for success. Since our visit, I’ve heard a several comments and the common string was… You guessed it, value for the dollar.
[shokutsu] So my takes on the positives of this place include the fact that it was clean, seemingly well spaced and lit. Spartan in nature, which matched the simplicity of their menu offerings. I could see it being a relatively safe place for local residents, and given the growth of high density housing and accompanying commercial offices for daytime customers, I can see Kanpachi surviving their first year in the business, which is always oh so difficult, even more in this day and age.