Fri, Nov 21, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Restaurants: Kan Pai Yakiniku Restaurant 乾杯

Address: 2-1 Nanjing E Rd, Ln 25, next to Idea (北市南京西路25巷2-1號),
Kan Pai (乾杯) 17 Dunhua S Rd, Sec 1, Ln 236, next to Sogo (北市敦化南 路一段236 巷17號),
Hsiao Kan Pai (小乾杯) 9 Dunhua S Rd, Sec. 1, Ln 177, behind Haagen-Dazs (北市敦化南路一段177巷9號)
Telephone: (02) 2555-6110 (Nanking branch)
Open: 11am to 12am
Average meal: NT$400 plus 10 percent service charge
Details: Menu in Chinese, English and Japanese; Credit cards accepted. Parties of four or more should make a reservation

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kan Pai is cool the way Hard Rock Cafe was 20 years ago.

PHOTO: DAVID MOMPHARD, TAIPEI TIMES

If the only thing you can think about after dining out is taking a nap, you likely had a good meal. Leave it to a Japanese barbecue joint named after the Chinese term for "bottom's up" to put you in just such a state.

Walk in to Kan Pai and you're greeted with the most deafening irasshaimase! you'll ever care to hear. The staff are decked out like a formula one pit crew, the speakers are jamming J-pop (Yes, jamming. Who knew!?) and customers are emptying one glass after another while getting their arms tangled turning meat on the grill. If you came for a relaxing meal, you came to the wrong place. Kan Pai will wear you out.

Since you're at a sear-it-yourself barbecue place, the first thing you'll want to do is grease your griddle. Order a plate of tonbara (NT$120), thinly sliced pork, or its beef brethren, kalbi (NT$120), and a beer -- you're barbecuing after all. Every item on the menu has two listed prices; full price and half price. If you pay a NT$120 per-person entrance fee, you pay half price. That means the tonbara and kalbi you just ordered each cost NT$60 and the mug of beer cost only NT$55 (Yes, NT$55! Who knew!?) May as well order the tankard (NT$150) and keep your server busy toting plates of meal and veggies instead. You can also order a small glass of beer for just NT$5. The thing is, you'll need a beer for the toast.

Every night just before 8pm the wait staff brings a round for anyone who needs it and asks if you're there celebrating anything special. On the hour, the whole joint raises a glass in unison, shouts a few "happy birthdays!" and "happy anniversaries!", then Kan Pai! If you weren't made deaf from the greeting at the door, you are now. Finish your glass in one drink and get another of the same for free. This place is dangerous.

It's made all the more dangerous by the Kiss Kalbi offer. For all couples of any age or sex willing to hold a kiss (while the whole restaurant counts backwards from 10 and someone snaps your photo) you'll receive one plate of the above-mentioned kalbi free of charge. Some poor guy on a first date tried to convince his red-faced companion that this would be a lot of fun, but got nowhere. Lucky for him the beer is cheap. He can go home and sleep it off like the rest of us.

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