I love sushi. If I were on death row, sushi and pepperoni pizza would be part of my last meal. My internal depth gauges seem to malfunction when I sit down at a sushi bar. I can order piece after piece, roll after roll, and I never seem to fill up. It amazes and astounds my friends. Then I myself am amazed and astounded when I get the bill and realize I've eaten three days' salary worth of raw fish.
Boise is lucky to not only have so many sushi restaurants, but good ones. One of the newest on the scene is Koi, in the home of the former Grand Gourmet. An upscale and thoroughly modern interior embraces guests as they enter. The sushi bar and accompanying cocktail bar in the main room expands to the back with comfortable dining tables surrounded by beaded screens and water features. Sound travels lightly in Koi, trapped by the curves and comfortable spaces the interior design provides.
My sushi partner and I started with my traditional double drink, a large hot sake and a large Kirin Ichiban. They balance and support each other for that hot/cold yin/yang thing. The menu is extensive, with an array of sushi and sashimi, soups, appetizers, salads and entrees, some of which include a South American fusion quality. The hot scallop appetizer in a mushroom and cheese sauce was to die for. The appetizer sampler gave us an assorted taste of several kinds of thinly sliced sashimi, shrimp and asparagus, all beautifully arranged and presented.
Our order of sushi and rolls arrived, and the food was plated very artfully. The house special Tokyo Roll, a rice-less tuna roll wrapped inside a thinly sliced cucumber shell, was superb. No piece of sushi was half-cut or small and even the mackerel, which can smell very, well, fishy, when it's not fresh, was odor-free and delicious. For an entree, we shared the broiled freshwater eel. This fatty piece of fish resembles Kobe beef cheeks and melted in our mouths. With a sweet eel sauce and a sprinkle of sansyo, it was divine.
Koi is definitely an upscale sushi restaurant. You can get high-quality, cheaper sushi at other restaurants around, but if you want fine art, a full assortment of exquisite cocktails, fancy specialty house rolls and Japanese entrees unlike any other you can find in town, this is the place. Koi is the Museum of Modern Art of sushi restaurants in Boise.
--Bingo Barnes' fantasy is to eat the Little Mermaid, dipped in soy sauce and wasabi.