Why Do I Love Koi?

I keep on asking myself, “why do I like this restaurant?” It is corporate. It is cliche. It is stupidly expensive.
And yet…I LOVE it!
 Koi is a modern, dark, sexy restaurant located in The Bryant Park Hotel, and as such is frequented by businesspeople and fashionistas year round. During fashion week, models can always be found there. 
Nothing like having to look at a gorgeous model while you eat to make you feel like a cow, am I right?
 Koi specializes in Japanese fusion food – the type of stuff that you would imagine entitled trust-fund teens eat. Fancy, city-fied food. Why am I obsessed with it?!
 Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice
Unctuous, silky tuna was chopped into tartare-like pieces – smooth but not mushy. Mixed with hot chiles(no mayonnaise here), the tuna’s natural sweetness and meatiness became even more apparent. Served atop sticky-sweet sushi rice that had been sauteed in soy butter, the outside was crunchy like the bottom of Korean bibimbap. The thick, salty crust broke through tho that vinegary-sweet rice inside and the heat from the rice warmed the tuna without cooking it. The sliver of jalapeno atop was spicy but not hot, the crowning jewel to this bite-sized morsel. This is the best interpretation of fish atop crispy rice that I have ever had. Others have tried it, no one has matched this interpretation. 
 Roasted Shisito Peppers
What the heck was in these peppers? Soy? Ponzu? Crack cocaine? Whatever was in them, they were NOT like regular shisito peppers. Normally, these peppers are tasty enough – ranging from mild to medium spicy, they char on the grill and remain soft and juicy on the inside – a little salt is the only usual accompaniment. At Koi, the peppers were sauteed in a tangy, salty, sweet sauce that made the peppers’ heat linger and brought out the vegetal, earthy taste of the peppers. I ate 16 of these. I counted. They seem simple, but they are sublime. 
Daily Special – Spicy Tuna Roll Topped with Toro, Wasabi Mayonnaise and Tobiko
Fatty, melting-upon-contact-with-my-tongue tuna tasted mild and actually did almost dissolve on my tongue. Layered between warm, sticky rice and sharp wasabi mayonnaise and tobiko, the toro was truly the star of the dish. The spicy tuna was just as delicious as it was on the crispy rice, but here it was more of a backdrop than the main event, adding heft to the delicate and standout toro. 
This meal was just what I felt like. The surroundings were beautiful, the food was just delicious, and our server, Bonnie, went above and beyond(really, if you go there, ask for Bonnie. She is efficient, funny, and really loves to eat and loves diners who love to eat!).
The price was high. The food was trendy. But it was also so delicious. And in the end, the only real question I should be asking is…what’s not to love?
Koi on Urbanspoon


  1. Five years ago I was in NYC and met up with an old high school buddy in Bryant Park. But it was a gorgeous day and the bar there was absolutely packed. So we ducked into Koi to have a drink. It was crowded but at least we could talk. It looked like a nice place and I thought about going back for dinner one day but I never did.

  2. I've never been there, but have heard it's wonderful. Checking out a sushi place tonight that I've got a Groupon for…should I be nervous? lol

  3. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Justin-it really is worth a stop!
    @Sarah-hey, i equally love groupon sushi AND overpriced sushi!


  1. […] Gorgeous. Sleek, elegant, dark, and very chic. It’s all angles, mirrors, and sleek wood. There is nothing shabby chic or rustic about this place – it’s all NYC all the way. The people who stay here all seem to have “resting bitch face,” but that’s because most of them are models and haven’t eaten since “Friends” was on the air. The staff is fabulous (more on that later), and there are tons of places to sit and play on your phone while you wait for your date to meet you for dinner. BTW, hit up the in-house restaurant, Koi. for dinner – it’s one of my favorites. […]