UPDATE 7/30/11: sad! i just got the following email: “Recently changed to a buffet style only situation. There is one vegan option; miso soup. They don’t even serve edamame anymore. Rather sad.”
hmmm….let’s think: a vegan-friendly sushi happy hour with $1 beers, $4 pitchers, and $1 bottles of sake? YES PLEASE. not to mention really great rolls, grilled vegetables, and a live band?! what up!
i’m talking about the daily happy hour (5-7:30pm) at sushi & kushi imai on wilshire. we have already told you about some insane vegan options at an omni eatery this week, and i think sushi & kushi is right up there when you factor in the good food and CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP BOOZE.
we hit up sushi & kushi imai, not knowing what to expect. the restaurant is technically located in beverly hills, but it’s super close to mid wilshire and has parking lot where we were lucky enough to find a space. as i said earlier, happy hour runs from 5pm until 7:30, but what we didn’t realize is that it fills up QUICK. we got there at 6pm, and there was limited seating in the bar (the only area of the restaurant where happy hour prices are honored). thankfully, we managed to get a decent 2 top table, and we quickly realized that the restaurant was hoppin’ for a good reason. we started with a pitcher of sapporo for only FOUR DOLLARS. yes, you heard me right, a 4 buck pitcher of beer. can’t beat that in this town!
to eat, we began with a standard bowl of edamame from the happy hour menu. it was $1.95 and came with a generous amount of salted soy beans. the perfect appetizer with the refreshing beer.
the vegan sushi options are somewhat limited (think avocado, cucumber, and vegetable rolls), but what they do have is excellent. we got 2 cucumber rolls and a vegetable roll to share, for a combined total of $12.50. the rolls were perfectly prepared, and the vegetables were fresh and crispy. i must say, this was a welcome change from the mock meat type of sushi i’m used to eating. oh, and they can substitute brown for white rice at an extra charge, if that’s your thing.
after drinking the pitcher of beer, we decided to move onto something a little more strong, and were delighted to see that small jugs of hot sake were only $1. a buzz for a buck! yes, it is possible at sushi & kushi imai.
i’d never heard of kushi before, but apparently it’s food grilled on a skewer, and at happy hour there were tons of vegetable options. it was hard to choose between the japanese pumpkin, okra, and sweet potato…but we ended up going with the lotus, which did not disappoint. two massive crunchy slices of lotus root that were crispy around the edges and served with a trio of dipping sauces, two of which were vegan. when you order, please let them know that you don’t want the mayo-based sauce—but the other two, miso and bbq, are safe to eat.
lastly, even though it wasn’t on the discounted happy hour menu, we split an order of sauteed mushrooms. they just sounded so good and when we saw they had the word “vegan” in the menu description, we just couldn’t resist. this dish came with succulent sauteed enoki and shiitake mushrooms all whipped up with sake and vegan butter. absolutely amazing.
by the time we were wrapping up our meal, a live band had started playing in the bar area. we decided to order another bottle of sake (hey for $1, why not?) and make a night of it. we were so happy and full of good food, i couldn’t believe it when the check arrived and it was only $33! how is that even possible? we consumed 1 pitcher of beer, 2 bottles of sake, 1 order of edamame, 3 rolls of sushi, 1 order of kushi, and an entree-size portion of mushrooms…all for $33?! and we even strayed from the cheap happy hour menu to order the mushroom dish! next time we are gonna stick to sushi and sake, and keep our tab to under 20 bucks. where else can you do that in beverly hills?
the happy hour at sushi & kushi imai is awesome, and i know we’ll be back often. my advice is to get there early, secure a nice table, and take your time eating. you’re guaranteed to have a lovely meal. cheers!
sushi & kushi imaiTags: beer, beverly hills, happy hour, sushi
8300 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
happy hour is everyday from 5pm – 7:30pm BAM!