5847 Poplar Ave, #101
By Thursday of spring break, the monkeys (Satchel, 10, and Jiro, 8) and I needed a Japanese food fix. We also needed to make a Target run. So, I suggested we try the conveniently located Red Koi, which I had heard good things about.
Jiro did not want to go. This was pretty much his default mode all through spring break. I once again made the Subway sandwich promise, and asked Satchel to look up the menu on the drive out in the hopes of finding something Jiro would be excited about. It only took Satchel about two seconds to get Jiro excited. "They have hibachi!"
The monkeys were both all smiles when we walked in. There were only a few tables with people, and it was easy to see that this small restaurant did not have a huge section of hibachi tables like the monkeys envisioned. Instead the hibachi was in the back. It was small and utilitarian. There would be no flaming onion or other show of skill.
The monkeys took this in stride and settled for a table close to the hibachi station so they could at least see some of the prep.
Now the things I noticed--actual Asians cooking and eating in the restaurant. Always a good thing. We sat next to a young Asian couple and their cute baby.
Our waitress was not Asian, but she was very sweet. Satchel and I had pretty much figured out our order on the drive over, but I took a minute to look at the menu just in case I missed something. I decided to try the martini salad on a whim.
Once we placed our order, the waitress brought some complimentary spring rolls to the table. Of course the monkeys are weird and only had a small bite to be polite so I ended up eating them all. (I went running right before dinner and was hungry!)
Then the three of us won the world speed record for eating edmamame. The monkeys also had some miso soup that came with their hibachi dinners. Next up was our Yum Yum Shrimp appetizer.
It was basically shrimp tempura with volcano sauce poured on top. It was ok, but there was too much sauce and the sauce wasn't spicy enough. We ate it all anyway, and Satchel saved the sauce for later french fry dipping.
Jiro's kids hibachi meal with steak looked a little puny. I also still can't believe I let him get french fries.
He said the meat was delicious and it ended up being more than he could finish.
Satchel was thrilled with his hibachi shrimp and described it as exquisite. He also ordered fries!
Satchel had no problem finishing the kids meal and asked if he could have a second. I could tell that he loved the shrimp and would crave them all week if I didn't let him get his fix. So the nice waitress brought him a second plate.
Next time, I'll just get him an adult meal. (Kids meal has 6 shrimp, the adult meal has 12.)
Now, for my dinner. The martini salad was AMAZING. I want one right now. Yum!
It has raw salmon, raw tuna, crabstick, mango, avocado, and a ginger soy wasabi sauce. It was soooooooooooooooo good.
I was really quite full when I finished but then I was quickly reminded that I had also ordered a spicy crawfish roll.
It was good--nothing special. More volcano sauce! I saw plenty of people ordering sushi and I am sure there are more exciting things to try!
Our waitress asked if we were interested in desert and of course Jiro was when he heard that they had tempura fried ice cream.
He and Satchel had a blast eating it up, and I even got a few bites. The waitress told us how they make it and we were all fascinated. (The batter is actually pund cake.)
While the monkeys waited for me to pay (our total was $63), they listed their three favorite restaurants. Jiro said Sekisui was still his first favorite but that Red Koi was now tied with Mulan for second. Satchel listed his three favorites as Sekisui, Boneheads, and Red Koi. Cute.
Satchel then described Red Koi as a "Luxurious eating place."
On our way out, I chatted with the woman at the hostess stand and she told me that Red Koi is a family restaurant and there is only the one location. So despite it being in the middle of chain restaurant/big box store land, it is a locally owned, independent establishment. That was a nice surprise.
None of us made it to the restroom, but Jiro did insist on having his photo taken with the cool fountain up front.
We will definitely be back. We have to take Warren, of course.
I'd like to hear your favorites, especially sushi wise, if you've been!