‘KAMPAI!’

Cheers! Sansei Kihei hosts Japanese sake craft cocktail dinner this evening

Spanish octopus will be charred in a gochujang sauce. Sansei photos

“Kampai!” is Japanese for “cheers” in a drinking toast. Its literal translation means “dry cup.”

“Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Kihei will present a very special Kampai! dinner this evening,” says owner DK Kodama. “We will feature a contemporary Japanese pub-style menu paired with craft sake and sake cocktails.”

The reception kicks off at 6 p.m. and the dinner follows at 6:30 p.m. at the award-winning restaurant near Foodland on South Kihei Road.

Sake and Japanese cuisine pair perfectly like a fine pinot noir with grilled lamb chops, cold beer with chicken wings or vodka with caviar.

“In its purist form, sake brings forth the savory ‘umami’ magic that delights chefs and diners alike. Add it to craft cocktails created by talented hipster mixologists, and dinner becomes an exciting adventure,” he says.

Okinawan sweet-potato baklava a la mode.

The appetizer Haru No Hassun Moriawase was designed by Sansei Corporate Sushi Chef Masa Hattori. It is the chef selection of sashimi and other delicacies such as crab and scallop with dashi jelly and tobiko; grilled shio-koji salmon and spring vegetables with sweet yuzu miso sauce; locally caught marlin Asian style with lobster ceviche and harusame salad; and housemade tamago yaki (Japanese omelet) and tsukemono (pickled vegetables).

Sip Kitaya Junmai Ginjo Fukuoka hand selected by Dan Fullick, key account manager/sake specialist of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Hawai’i, followed by fresh sake cocktails created by Chandra Lucariello, Southern Glazer’s director of Mixology & Spirits.

“It’s called ‘Going Green,’ “ she says. “Kitaya Kansansui Junmai Ginjo will be blended with Alessio Bianco, sugar snap pea syrup, mint and lemon.”

Sansei Kihei Executive Chef Byung Jeoung will wow with the second course of gochujang-charred Spanish tako, or octopus, with grilled Big Island hearts of palm, Kahuku corn, Sumida Farms watercress salad, carrot-ginger puree and nori pestu.

Sip the A-lister of the sake world, Showers of Blossoms Junmai Daiginjo — Hyogo; and the Under the Influence cocktail with Showers in it. A cocktail made with Kotsuzumi Showers of Blossoms blends Gonzalez Byass Amontillado sherry, Ho Farms local grape tomatoes, fresh lemon, cane syrup, sesame salt.

The moriawase appetizer is a chef’s selection of fine sushi, sashimi and other Japanese delicacies — all paired with craft sake and cocktails throughout the meal.

A sashimi and nigiri sushi course of the trendy kind and more drinks follow. Dessert by DK Restaurant Pastry Chef Cherie Pascual and coffee or tea tops it off. The cost is $89 per person, including tax and tip.

• For reservations, call Sansei Kihei at 879-0004.