730 North La Cienega Boulevard | www.koirestaurant.com
The first time I went to Koi restaurant in West Hollywood was when I took my mom, aunt, and grandma on our annual ladies vacation; although it was not the ideal Japanese Restaurant to take my grandmother who was expecting traditional fare, everyone still thoroughly enjoyed the modern and youthful spirit that offers a refreshing twist on sushi. However, the atmosphere at Koi is definitely more suitable for the trendy-hipster-type (as much as I despise the term “hipster”!) as it is a popular hotspot for celebrities and hence, paparazzi! For my second time around, I took J to Koi for our third year anniversary. The restaurant is segregated into four dining areas (or you can choose to eat at the sushi bar), two patios, and a lounge which makes for an intimate setting no matter where you are seated. To our disappointment, they asked us not to take photos after a few clicks (too dark? ruins the atmosphere? protect celebrities? Not too sure…) but luckily we were able to take a shot of our favourite dish, Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice. The modern Japanese menu incorporates a Californian fusion to traditional dishes which makes for a tantalizing experience for the senses! Instead of focusing on sashimi, try their unique signature rolls such as the Rok N Roll or Baked Crab Roll. J and I can never get enough of Miso Black Cod from Nobu but the version at Koi is also delicious, I guess you can never really go wrong with this dish!
N pretty much nailed it. Being the celebrity hot spot that it is, there is a bouncer-type looking fellow outside the restaurant holding onto a clipboard containing the night’s reservations before permitting you to enter. Oh yeah, that’s right! Come to think of it, I think he even had an earpiece! Koi was also the place where N introduced me to the world of low sodium soy sauce. I guess celebs are very health conscious. You can request it at most Japanese restaurants and they’ll bring it out for you. Koi restaurant has been featured in many TV Shows including one of my favorite shows, Entourage.
We have also tried their Las Vegas restaurant inside Planet Hollywood which is also good but it does not beat the Los Angeles experience where the thrill of a potential celebrity sighting adds to the dining ambiance!