Friday, January 13, 2012

How We Ate Our Way Through NYC: Koi Restaurant | Lounge

We were fortunate enough to have found some great restaurants around Midtown NYC.  Just before we left, we had a set plan (and reservations) as to where we were going to eat and when.  Things changed when we got there.  The reality of how much traffic there was around the area was just insane.  This was Christmas weekend after all and after dealing with the crowds all day, the last thing you want to do is sit in traffic just to get to dinner or walk in dress shoes and heels.  By the end of it all, we only kept one of the four reservations we initially made, but in the process, found some excellent ones.

Restaurant Name:
Koi Restaurant | Lounge
Located @ Bryant Park Hotel
40 West 40th Street
(212) 921-3330
Cuisine: Japanese
Price Rating: $$$
Beach Junkies Rating (based out of 5 stars):
Food: 4.5 / Service: 5 / Drinks: 4 / Atmosphere: 4

This wasn't the first time we've eaten at Koi. I first ate at this restaurant three years ago on a trip to NYC with my friends.  We then went to Las Vegas the same year and that was when "A" tried it so we knew what to expect.

We have recommended this restaurant to a few people and all came back with glowing reviews BUT we all tell them to keep it light and share all the dishes.  Koi's hot dishes can be very savory and it can be too much sometimes just to eat that one dish yourself.  Trust us, this is the 3rd time we have eaten at this restaurant and our last visit there was our best experience yet.  Practice makes perfect.

Koi-Tini and Ginger Mojito

Cocktails: Koi-Tini & Ginger Mojito - Three years ago was the first time I tasted the Ginger Mojito. In that one sitting, I ordered four of them.  That's how good they are. Unfortunately, our visits after in Vegas was Ginger Mojito free. They didn't have them on the menu there and when we ate dinner this night, they didn't have it on the menu as well.  I asked the waiter if they served it and he said no.  However, a few minutes later, he came back and said that the bartender that has been at this location since day 1 and said he would make it for me. It was even better than I remembered it. As for the Koi-Tini, it wasn't anything spectacular. It basically was a cosmo but with sparkling wine.

Koi Crispy Rice topped w/ Spicy Tuna

First course: Koi Crispy Rice topped w/ Spicy Tuna - A must order!  Our first introduction to Koi's food was this and it should be everyone else's. An explosion of soft, crispy, juicy and spicy runs through the course of your palate once you take a bite of this goodness. We swear we can go to Koi and just eat this, but of course that won't be fun at all. If there is one thing you must order from their menu, it is this.

Rock Shrimp Ceviche and Yellowtail Sashimi

Second Course: Rock Shrimp Ceviche and Yellowtail Sashimi - We had always seen this on the menu but never opted to order it until now and we're glad we did.  The yellowtail sashimi at the bottom was fresh and delicious, and the rock shrimp was just right, not too soft and not too chewy.  Eating this though can be tricky but "A" figured out a way where you slide the chopsticks at both ends of the yellowtail and as you raise it, close the ends so that the rock shrimp is being cradled by the fish. I know it seems silly, but these dishes are meant to be eaten all at once so that all the flavors combine which makes the dish.

Baked Crab Roll

Third Course: Baked Crab Roll - Tthis was the one dish of the night that we could have done with out.  It didn't have that mix of flavors and textures we were looking for but it was still delicious none the less.

Miso Bronzed Black Cod

Fourth Course: Miso Bronzed Black Cod - Remember what I said that their hot dishes were savory. Well, this is one dish well worth sharing.  The cod is cooked to perfection and the skin was just absolutely wonderful.  It was a great mix of salty, sweet and savory.  This was our favorite meal of the night and having three light dishes before this meal balanced really well.

Japanese Mochi (pistachio and peanut butter/chocolate)

Dessert: Japanese Mochi - I absolutely love mochi.  Any flavor will do it for me. "A" on the other hand hates it and it was surprising to see how much she loved her peanut butter/chocolate mochi.

As I said earlier, this sitting was our best dining experience at Koi to date.  There is much more that we want to try on the menu that we want to try so it definitely won't be our last visit. 


Elaine A (TOBeautyReviews) said...

Damn, everything looks so good! I would love to visit that place if I ever make it to NYC. Problem is my husband isn't a fan of japanese except the rice and chicken dishes so I would have no one to enjoy it with!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

You are making my mouth water!! YUM!

Eugenia said...

MMMM i am soo hungry now! I need to visit NY again!

Tara said...

Yummy :) I love Japanese food!

Jessica said...

Now that's good service! I'm glad they made your beloved drink because it sounds incredible! Also, definitely following your blog now! I love traveling and it's fun to read about your experiences (and put a few pins in my Google map!)

Beach Junkies said...

Thanks for following our blog. If you ever make it to Koi, try your luck and ask for the ginger mojito!