I took my mom to lunch at Koi last week- it is close to my office and I wanted to give it a shot despite bad reviews.
It definitely seems like a sceney place with some $$ spent on decor- probably the nicest restaurant with such proximinty to the garment district. Cute hostesses, servers repeating the whole "all meals are served family style and designed for sharing and all of our food is cooked to order" schpeil. I'm glad they made that clear. Koi is also very highly priced which would not make it a good choice for a group of eaters for dinner.
However, I think it could be a nice alternative for the Sushi Samba crowd, etc....
Receiving no feedback from the board, I went with Bruni's choices. The hamachi fusion was good quality fish, very nobu-like in presentation with the jalepenos and a yuzu-y dressing with micro greens in the middle. You could smell the truffle oil but not taste it so well- and this I liked.
The crispy rice with the spicy tuna on top was a fun textural experience. The spicy tuny was tasty but lacked any sort of uniqueness- of course the crispy rice provided that. Both of these dishes I would order again.
Had a soft shell crab that was medium sized and came with both ponzu and spicy sauce. This was good- but if it were bad that would be inexcusable. Side orders of the roasted shishito peppers (yum!) and asparagus mushrooms combo- which was plain but soothing.
Finished up with a Dragon roll which was covered with a mountain of tempura flakes and quite gloppy. Having eaten some incredible sushi lately- I decided to eschew any pieces of sushi or conventional rolls.
Koi is solid- but overpriced for what it is. Would I go again? Yes but only for a weekday lunch- instead of asia de cuba. If I was eating a real japanese-ish meal at those prices- you would see me at Nobu, Yasuda or at the old koi (Kanoyama) where I would save a few bucks if I didn't gorge myself on toro.
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