My other bar food experience this month was at Canal Club. I hadn't been since July 2004, so I was eager to try the place again, especially given the promise of half-price happy hour sushi. On a Monday night at 6:30, the place was slightly under half-full, which was fine with me since I don't really like screaming at my friends. I was disappointed to find that half-price sushi meant a selection of only three rolls. At $2.50 each, the price was certainly right, but I was expecting a full sushi bar bonanza. I'm actually not sure where I got this half-price sushi idea from, but I'm sure I didn't make it up. Promises of cheap sushi are inevitably too good to be true.
The happy hour menu is short and to-the-point: brie and grape quesadillas, fried calamari, spicy tuna roll, california roll, sunset roll, and a couple of other things. We had the spicy tuna roll (not bad, especially considering that I don't like tuna, but it didn't taste like a whole lot), the sunset roll (cooked salmon doesn't belong in my sushi, I've decided), calamari (a bit overcooked, but the mayo dipping sauce was yummy), and brie and grape quesadillas (soggy, but tasty).
For good measure, we ordered 3 pieces of the chef's choice of nigiri. We received bluefin tuna, regular tuna, and yellowtail. All were not bad, but none got me too excited. I remembered Canal Club's sushi as being better, but in July, I was still a newbie to the sushi scene, so I don't really trust that places I liked back then are as good as I remember them.
I left craving more and better sushi. I'd still go here for happy hour over a lot of other places--spicy tuna rolls generally get me a lot more excited than spicy fried stuff, even though I'm not that fond of tuna. As far as drinks went, I enjoyed my chardonnay, though I don't know enough about wine to give you a knowledgeable opinion on it. My friend's vanilla vodka and coke was apparently on the overly strong side (but hey, at least it wasn't weak).
In addition to the regular bar, Canal Club has a bar away from the bar, where your back faces the bar and your front faces one side of the restaurant. All the fun of elevated bar stools, none of the chaos. They also have some kind of upstairs room, which we did not venture into but probably should have. Who knows what kind of debaucherous fun could have been waiting for us?
Canal Club Wood Grill & Sushi Bar
2025 Pacific AvenueVenice, CA 90291
Hours:Sushi & More Happy Hour 7 days a week 5pm-7pm
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 6pm-10pm
Friday & Saturday 6pm-11pm