Dining With Denise Neil

A top Wichita restaurant is turning 7, and you’re invited for cake

David Kanai is the culinary talent behind Kanai at 12111 W. Maple.
David Kanai is the culinary talent behind Kanai at 12111 W. Maple. The Wichita Eagle

It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years since I first sampled the sushi genius of chef David Kanai, owner of Kanai at 12111 W. Maple. But the calendar doesn’t lie: The west-side restaurant, which opened on Jan. 15, 2010, is about to celebrate its seventh anniversary and is offering week’s worth of specials to mark the occasion.

Starting on Friday and running through Jan. 21, the restaurant will be serving a special sparkling sake drink for $5, and it also will be serving a free dessert called Japanese daifuku – which is a rice cake with red beans – to people who can repeat a special key word that the restaurant owners will post on Facebook.

Kanai is known for its high-quality sushi prepared by its chef and owner, who was born in Kyoto, Japan, and worked as a head sushi chef in Los Angeles before moving to Wichita. It’s also known for its friendly staff, which loudly greets diners in Japanese when they arrive.

Since I started reviewing restaurants in 2000, I’ve awarded only two perfect four-star ratings, and in April 2010, Kanai got one of them.

Kanai is open for dinner only, and its hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 5 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It’s closed on Sundays and Mondays.