Photo by xxxx

Photo by xxxx





1250 Scenic Highway No. 1300, Lawrenceville


Open since: March 18

Location: Kampai is in the recently renovated former On the Border location at The Avenue Webb Gin.

Hours: The restaurant is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, the hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Sunday Kampai is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Owner: James Kim opened his first Kampai location in the Buckhead area in 1995 and later relocated to Duluth. Another location is at Stonecrest Mall.

Atmosphere: Like its food, the atmosphere in Kampai's Avenue location is all about fusion. Instead of a typical low sushi bar, patrons sit on high stools, more frequently found at American bars. While the windows in the hibachi area have the signature Japanese screen-look, the brick wall in the back brings Americana back in.

The restaurant also has a room equipped with hibachi tables available for private parties.

Menu: In Kampai's newest location, chefs are trying out a new menu style.

Japanese favorites of sushi and hibachi are still served with flare, but the menu also includes some "fusion" elements. A favorite on the menu, according to head chef Kenton Shelf, is the BSR Filet Mignon, a grilled beef steak in a balsamic vinegar, soy sauce reduction served on mashed potatoes with asparagus.

"We're mixing Asian flavors with American," Shelf said.

He pointed to an appetizer -- tuna pizzas served on a corn tortilla -- as a fusion of Mexican with Asian cuisine.

"We're playing with concepts and ideas, not just offering straight-forward Japanese," he said, adding that the concept has been widely accepted in the Lawrenceville location.

Things you might not know: In Japanese, Kampai means "cheers," and the restaurant staff prides itself on living up to that celebratory name.

Most of the chefs are classically French trained. Shelf is the former suis catering chef at Turner Field, and another chef trained in Italy.