Koi Asian Bistro, Bourbonnais, Illinois: Japanese, Chinese and Thai Cuisine

You know you’ve found a good restaurant when there are a lot of cars in the parking lot. That’s how I realized that Koi Asian Bistro in Bourbonnais, Illinois, had developed quite a following. I hadn’t paid much attention to it before, even though I pass it several times a week. But one day I noticed all the cars and knew none of the other businesses in that strip would have that many customers at one time, so I made it a point to try it. I was impressed, impressed with the decor, impressed with the menu selection, and especially impressed with the food.

The décor is sophisticated Japanese, with lots of black wood and bamboo and Japanese lanterns hanging above the tables.

Koi Asian BistroKoi specializes in Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisine. I have to admit I am far from an Asian food expert. I rarely eat it, and I have no idea what the difference is between sushi, sushimi and maki rolls, but Koi has lots of all of them. I counted 18 different kinds on the Sushi and Sushimi menu, 21 on the Classic Rolls or Hand Rolls menu, and 19 on the Chef’s Special Rolls menu. They offer far more entrees, though, including several rice dishes, noodle dishes and tempura.

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Our waitress brought us a bowl of edamame, boiled and salted, to start. I’d never eaten edamame served this way before, still in the pod, and was unsure how to eat it. Apparently there is no correct way. Some people peel it to get to the beans in the pod, and some eat it like an artichoke, running the pod through your front teeth, and the beans pop into your mouth. I found the latter to be the easier method.

EdamameNot being very adventurous when it comes to food, I ordered tried-and-true sesame chicken. The sweet, sticky sauce and nutty taste and crunch of the sesame seeds is one of my favorites. The portion was more than I could eat. I took at least half of it home to enjoy for lunch the next day.

Sesame chickenMy husband ordered off of the Chef’s Special Rolls menu. Impressively plated, complete with a flower, he confirmed it was as delicious as it was pretty.

sushi rollWe splurged and split dessert, tempura cheesecake. That’s deep-fried cheesecake. Again, beautifully plated and delicious, but bit over the top in richness.

Tempura CheesecakeIn Bourbonnais, an area with mostly fast food, pizza and diners without much ambiance, Koi Asian Bistro stands out. On my next visit, I may even be adventurous and try one of the maki rolls.

Koi Asian Bistro is located at 906 N. Convent Street in Bourbonnais, Illinois. Check the web site for hours and full menu.

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