It was not as if KOI did not already present a beautiful and romantic setting to go along with a menu to entice any discerning taste buds. KOI decided to raise the high bar that that they already set by adding a few select items just for you to share with your Valentine this year.
Drive past the flower shop and walk past the chocolates, if you want to really impress your Valentine this year give them Diablo’s Kiss. The aptly named Diablo’s Kiss is an Oven-Roasted Snapper with Habanera Sauce was added just for the Valentine’s Day menu, but it is so spectacular let’s hope that this dish becomes a regular. Created with the intention of bringing the heat of the habanera into the dish, the cream sauce reduced the intensity to a much lower level while still allowing you to take in that habanera flavor. The snapper comes out so tender that you can't use chop sticks to eat it because it falls apart that easily. You will love that while still being so tender, the oven-roasting gives it just a hint of crispiness on the outside, while locking all of the flavor and moistness inside.
To kick off your Valentine’s Day meal I would suggest trying “Cupid’s Arrow.” A very light and flavorful appetizer that is served on two individual serving spoons and is composed of buffalo mozzarella, garlic oil, balsamic, soy sauce and topped with fresh tuna. A nice blend of flavors this is served perfectly so you and your partner can romantically feed each other.
KOI also added two more items to the menu to start off your Valentine’s Day dining experience. They have the heirloom tomato and shrimp cocktail and the “White Kiss Rope.” If you like shrimp, this is one memorable shrimp cocktail as they come in a group of four, two for you and two for your partner, but the size of the shrimp will make you do a double take. I am not sure where KOI found these shrimp, but they are as big as any I have ever seen and you might just need another couple to make it through these tasty shrimp. The “White Kiss Rope” has great fresh yellowtail and halibut within the roll and is topped with a lemon lime ume sauce and basil. The one thing when you order this roll is you really need to enjoy lemon because it is a very overpowering flavor in this instance. This is KOI, so going with their world-famous crispy rice is always a no-brainer if you are unsure what to do with so many choices. Never be afraid to ask the staff at KOI, they will never steer you in the wrong direction.
KOI also did a little mixology work to help celebrate Valentine’s Day by creating the "KOI Crush." A wealth of flavors went into this martini as you have vanilla vodka, strawberry liqueur with pineapple and cranberry. To keep with the Valentine’s Day theme you can also order a Berry Bliss off of the regular cocktail menu. This drink really gives you a strong gin flavor but the combination of raw agave, pomegranate juice and fresh raspberries gives you that just enough sweetness and fruity flavor to give you a really refreshing and flavorful drink.
To finish off your perfect Valentine’s Day date there is only one path to take and that is down a chocolaty road with the KOI trio platter of desserts. You are given a five-layer chocolate cake, a strawberry macaroon sandwich filled with crème Brue lee and finally a chocolate covered strawberry. The five-layer chocolate cake is the centerpiece of this plate as there is chocolate cake and then there is to die for chocolate cake. This is without question the latter. The cake is moist and decadent, so full of different levels and flavors of chocolate take each bite slowly to make sure you take it all in. Dessert might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of KOI, but the five-layer chocolate cake will always live in your memory after you taste it. If somehow you want to try something else for dessert KOI also has added tres leches cake, with poached cherries and cherry chocolate sorbet, and also the champagne chocolate mousse cake, featuring raspberry bon bon and raspberry coulis.
KOI is one of the iconic restaurants and the name “KOI” says it all. In addition to the spectacular menu, KOI has created a restaurant that seemingly has a different setting around every corner. The main dining room is definitely a little more romantic, dim and gives you a more cozy feeling. The back patio really gives you a little bit more of an Asian feel, more open and bamboo and trees surrounding the dining area. The lounge is a great place to come with a group and hangout and enjoy cocktails in a more upbeat setting. They also have a glass enclosed dining area in the front of the restaurant that is really beautiful at night. Of course they have the sushi bar as well for a more casual and fun way to grab a bite to eat. KOI was very creative in transitioning each area of the restaurant to keep each area its own, but also making that transition seamless.
KOI really is the place to go on Valentine’s Day if you want to pull out all of the stops and make your date say “WOW!” Just make sure you have your date and your reservations this Valentine’s Day and let KOI take care of everything, you just show up and look good.
The KOI Valentine’s Day specials are available February 9-14. KOI Los Angeles is located at 730 North La Cienega Bouevard. To make reservations call (310) 659-9449. For information on all KOI restaurants, visit: www.koirestaurant.com