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Kabuki Japanese Restaurant

by Nikki Buchanan

azfamily.com

Posted on September 11, 2009 at 7:42 PM

6770 N. Sunrise Boulevard, Suite G 211
Westgate City Center, Glendale
623-772-9832

Second Location: 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway
The District at Tempe Marketplace, Tempe
480-350-9160

These California-based corporate restaurants do a great job of creating a hip but comfortable Japanese restaurant experience. Each dramatic location (there are nine at the moment) captures essential elements of Japanese design while avoiding the tiresome cliches. The decor is eye-popping, no question. More importantly, Kabuki's quality ingredients are fresh, its presentations striking and its cocktails potent. Meanwhile, the multi-page menu offers something for everybody, including sushi for neophytes and old hands alike, as well as a selection of appetizers and entrees that look and taste more like something you'd see at Roy's than a traditional Japanese restaurant. But then, that's the difference: Like the decor, the menu is Japanese-inspired without being 100% traditional Japanese. How else would you categorize yellowtail tartare, topped with wasabi-tinted tobiko and spooned with ginger-coriander sauce? Yummy, by the way. For something decidedly different, try the calamari-stuffed eggplant, as sweet and sticky as candy, thanks to sweet miso sauce. Crispy skinned Lake Michigan white fish, served with wakame-rice, fresh asparagus, garlic chips and a puddle of yuzu-soy sauce offers a lot of bang for fourteen bucks. But that 's the way you'll feel about everything here. Lots of drama. In a good way. Lunch and dinner daily. $$

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