While I’m very much into NYC’s food scene, I’ll be the first to admit when I don’t know a ton about something. There’s nothing better than having the pleasure of dining with someone who can enlighten you a little bit about something new. A prime example – sushi. Sure, I’ve had a fair amount of sushi. And I’m pretty adventurous, one of my favorites actually being eel. However, I wouldn’t say I know where the great sushi spots are in the city. I’ve had some decent sushi (prior best in the area being Amber), but when a date wanted to take me to their favorite, Koi, I was all for it. Note, only one picture of these two is mine. I hope you guys will understand in light of the circumstances.
Tucked inside the Bryant Park Hotel, the restaurant was impressive in its décor. Simply elegant. Not over the top with a giant Buddha (Tao, I’m looking at you). They seated us up by the sushi bar, giving us a perfect spot to see the workers in action. Having once miserably tried to make sushi at home, I was enthralled by their speed and degree of perfection. We started with their signature dish – crispy rice. It was a small almost-rectangular mound of rice, topped with spicy tuna and a jalapeno slice. I’d read this was a must try, and after having done so myself, I can say it’s definitely not just all hype.
For sushi, I gave a little input and let him suggest the rest. I admitted I’d never had the pieces, having mostly chosen to go with rolls. For pieces, we ended up trying their white tuna, the snow crab, and salmon. I figured salmon was the “starter” option, but I actually found it to be my least favorite of the three. Don’t get me wrong, it was quite good, but I was blown away by the fresh and perfect flavor of the snow crab. And I’d never seen white tuna, so that was a treat. It’s something not offered daily on the menu, so I recommend asking to see if they happen to have it if you are there.
We ordered the dragon roll from their signature roll listing, which was shrimp tempura, eel, and baked crab. This was a nice addition because it wasn’t rolled in the same rice as the other rolls, so it added some variety. We also had the spicy tuna, which was very good. On the spicier side (note: I’m not complaining – thumbs up). The yellowtail and scallion was very fresh, though I’d say of the rolls it was the least unique one we had.
For dessert, we shared the molten chocolate cake, which was accompanied by vanilla ice cream and a chocolate sauce. The chocolate wasn’t too bitter or too sweet, and the cake was just the right degree of liquid. The drink menu is also not to be missed. I had one drink that paired Hendrick’s gin with St. Germain. It was quite good, though I preferred the White Martini, which was Absolut Acai Berry, white cranberry juice, Triple Sec, and lime juice. There wasn’t a part of this meal I can complain about. The service was attentive and the sushi, absolutely amazing. If you’ve never been and sushi is your thing, I highly recommend checking out Koi.
Koi – at the Bryant Park Hotel – 40 W 40th Street – 212.921.3330
Crispy Rice photo courtesy of Michael Nestler on Flickr.