Went to Kabuki in Tempe Marketplace last night for a friend's birthday & was pleasantly surprised. Wasn't sure what to expect because of the location, size & appearance but the food was actually decent. Nice, pretty room.
I'm usually hesitant to order our favorites at a place that seem to be kind of scene/party oriented but my wife was craving sea urchin & sweet shrimp so went with it. I usually play it safe as I've have had baaaaaad experiences ordering my favorites when brought along to places where the primary focus isn't authentic Japanese food (my worst sea urchin ever was at Tsunami in Huntington Beach - yikes!). While there is little in life that I love more than excellent sea urchin, mediocre & bad sea urchin are just plan nasty.
I guess in the same vein as we discussed Americanized Chinese food in other threads, I think there exists that same concept in Japanese food (with the crazy sushi rolls & such).
Anyway, we ordered...
and I was happy with all of them. Wasn't stellar sea urchin but definitely wasn't bad. The amaebi was quite edible too.
We also ordered miso marinated black cod but I didn't get to taste any of it as my 1 year old ate the entire thing.
The wife & I also had the saki sampler & we both enjoyed all 3 (junmai - otokoyama; ginjyo - kikusui; dai ginjyo - mu).
Did get a taste of some other things folks ordered:
Gyoza - small nibble & seemed decent
Calamari rings - not a fan, especially after having exceptional ones at Humble Pie recently
Lobster dynamite - not bad; typical mayonnaisey option - not really my bag
Lobster roll ? or lotus roll? - not bad - again not my bag
gold rush roll - fried california roll w/eel sauce - not bad - again not my bag
Chilean sea bass - got a taste of this which I thought was again quite decent
So as far as the experience, nothing truly exceptional to write home about but nothing to cry about.
I'd be fine to go back if one of our non-sushi-obsessed friends wanted us to go and I wouldn't drop into my Americanized Japanese food ordering mode - nothing wrong with a good crunchy roll and very little risk involved. : )