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Koi

Sushi, Sake, and Sweet Star Gazing

At Koi’s sexy sushi bar and restaurant, Japanese cuisine with Californian accents attracts the hottest crowds and celebrities to LA’s restaurant row.

Koi Restaurant - Los AngelesNo doubt, hands down, one of, if not the most popular restaurant on La Cienega, is Koi. If you get the chance to splurge on a trendy, hot, and posh sushi restaurant in L.A., make sure it is Koi. Koi is stellar in everything from its creative Japanese-Californian fusion cuisine and fresh sushi to its Asian décor and sizzling atmosphere with Hollywood crowds. It is no wonder that paparazzi surrounds Koi nightly, in hopes of snapping Lindsay, Paris, Victoria Beckham, and other A-list celebrities. Everyone knows that Koi is the place to see and to be seen.

Koi Restaurant - Los AngelesAs the doorman checks your name of the nightly guest list, simply smile as you strut through the wooden gate, stepping into a lush Zen stone patio, complete with a fireplace, waterfall and Buddhist relics to convey a serene, yet exotic atmosphere. Candles placed all along the patio and throughout illuminate the feng shui scene giving off a cozy, warm, and romantic aura. A cozy bar is situated just at the entrance, allowing guests to throw back a couple saketinis while waiting for their table. However, most of the mingling and crowd Koi Restaurant - Los Angeleswatching is best done in the front dining lounge, where you can catch a glimpse of stars and the latest in fashion while lounging on their plush sofas. Past the lounge is a dining area with matching black tables and booths, offset by flickering candles everywhere, giving it an elegant and sexy feel. The restaurant branches further into the back with individual rooms for larger or more private parties as well as another patio dining area with towering bamboo stalks and lush fountains.

Koi has a wide selection of wines and premium sakes in various price ranges. For cocktails, Koi Restaurant - Los Angelesthe raspberry martini, made with vodka and raspberry puree, is a sweet starter. The special Koi saketini, with vodka, sake, and cucumbers, is a strong one. Servers are chicly donned in all black and good looking enough to be models. The service at Koi is not rushed and instead focuses on allowing diners to enjoy a relaxing dinner with attentive service. The weekends, however, are more crowded, so be prepared for slower service and a wait.

On the menu front, Koi seduces diners with an amazing selection of options, especially with their cold signature dishes. The spicy seared Albacore with crispy red onions, is a melt in your mouth paradise of albacore with golden slivers of fried onions, drizzled with ponzu sauce.Koi Restaurant - Los Angeles The tuna tartare avocado on crispy wontons, with chopped tuna bursting with flavor, is absolutely delightful and not over-seasoned. The Hamachi fusion soy citrus truffle essence, is served with thin slices of yellowtail drizzled with citrus ponzu and truffle oil around a seaweed salad and the kick from the jalapeno is softened by the buttery yellowtail. A guaranteed favorite that will leave you craving for more is their crispy rice topped with spicy tuna. Minced ground spicy tuna with a slice of jalapeno, resting atop sushi rice that is seared to a crunchy perfection brings forth unimaginable flavors as you chew through the crispness. My idea of a perfect meal at Koi always begins and ends with this appetizer.

For hot dishes, the roasted duck breast with roasted shishito peppers has amazing flavor and is best medium rare. For fish, try their miso bronzed black cod, a moist filet of rich, buttery cod with just a hint of miso essence. Skip the steak and get the Kobe filet mignon toban- yaki. Koi Restaurant - Los AngelesThe amazingly tender steak arrives cubed in perfect little bite size pieces tossed with a soy based sauce and accompanied with a side of sizzling vegetables. Another signature is their creamy rock shrimp tempura, with plump rock shrimp battered and fried in tempura, lightly tossed with spicy mayonnaise. Bite into the warm crispy shrimp and you will be delighted with its creaminess.

The nightly Chef’s specials, such as the Kobe beef sushi, are usually inventive and worth trying. The Kobe beef sushi is slightly seared just enough to capture the juices and flavors as you experience the delicacy and softness of red meat the way it is meant to be eaten. In addition to the house staples of standard nigiri sushi and rolls, the must haves are their baked crab hand roll Koi Restaurant - Los Angelesand baked scallops on California roll. The ever popular and succulent baked crab hand roll consists of fresh and tender, sweet, crab meat rolled warmly in a translucent soy paper roll. The crab meat, mixed with a slightly spicy but tangy sauce, perfectly compliments the subtle flavor and chewy consistency of the soy paper. The baked scallops on a California roll comes with sizzling scallops baked in a creamy dynamite sauce over a California roll.

Hit your sweet spot before you leave with their molten chocolate cake, a miniature personal cake filled with dark, rich chocolate lava, and served with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with white chocolate sauce. The food and drinks tend to add up quickly, but the way I look at it, Koi is like no other, so you might as well enjoy it while you are there. Dinner nightly. Reservations highly recommended. Major credit cards accepted. Visit Koi at www.koirestaurant.com.

730 North La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(310) 659-9449

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