Welcome to the Northern Virginia Restaurant Blog.

Restaurant reviews in Tyson's and surrounding area... mostly

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Koi Asian Bistro, Vienna, VA *** CLOSED ***

8413 Old Courthouse Rd
Vienna, VA
(703) 394-5205

*** CLOSED ***

Koi Asian Bistro occupies the old Ega Restaurant space in the back of a small strip mall near the corner of Chain Bridge Rd and Old Courthouse Dr. in Vienna.  We’re starting this entry with the location of this Tyson’s Corner gem because if you don’t know it’s there, you’ll never find it.  Once you’ve found the place, you’ll soon discover that the food, the service, and the price make the search worth it for some really good Asian cuisine. 

We’ve been to Koi for lunch twice and had the buffet.  Although tucked away in a far corner of the restaurant, the buffet was fully stocked with a cross-section of treats from various Asian cultures.  There are few surprises on the buffet:  A rich pumpkin broth, some typical wonton soup, samples of tempuras, fried rices, dishes that were plentiful, fresh and tasty.  The trays of sushi were also plentiful; if a bit typical with avocado and crab stick California maki rolls, and nigiri pieces (salmon, yellowtail, ebi, and tuna) that were all fresh and served with the standard staples of pickled ginger and wasabe.  

The serving staff was the real draw to Koi.  An attentive, knowledgeable, and pleasant minded staff seemed to take a few steps beyond what would be considered normal service.  Water glasses were kept full; plates bearing the remnants of a previous trip were bussed immediately before the new plate of goodness arrived from the buffet. They checked on us during the meal and her sense of pride was evident as she talked about the genesis of her restaurant.

Koi does a great job making a rather large space seem personal and intimate.  Several private dining rooms that hold about 8 – 10 diners line three larger rooms with open tables and booths.  Each table is equipped with a Gogigui grill (Gogigui literally means "meat + roasting"), the Korean style built-in grill for roasting meats.  A fourth larger room in the back of the restaurant is reserved for large parties that can hold about 80 – 100.  This room even comes with a karaoke machine for guest’s entertainment.  Bathrooms are very clean. 

We have not yet ordered directly from the menu, but some friends recently visited Koi for a first account of some menu items.  Here are their comments: 

“We ate there with our bridge club on Friday night and were all very pleasantly surprised at how nice it was.   And the food is good, too.   Our dinners included decaffeinated green tea, miso broth, a small salad, entrĂ©e, and a sample of their “ice cream with rice skin”.   Wow!    We ordered the honey/butter sweet potato appetizer and it was wonderful and had the blackened cod which we enjoyed.   We also had the chicken with vegies, but the sauce contained shell fish.   So she took it away and brought us the dish without the sauce.   We were very pleased with the place.” 
The next time you have a yearning for some good Asian food and can’t decide on the rich variety of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cuisines in the Northern Virginia area head out to Koi and get some of the best from all the Asian cuisines. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I-Thai Restaurant, Vienna, VA

8607 Westwood Center Dr.
Vienna, VA 22182
(703) 975-8785

What a pleasant surprise!  Although not everything was set up in this brand new restaurant when we ate there in the first week of February 2012, there was plenty to enjoy here.  Tucked away in a Tyson’s Corner (technically Vienna) corporate office building (if you ever wanted to know where Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus official corporate headquarters was located, it’s next to this restaurant!) this place serves up some very tasty Thai food.  The dining area is divided into two rooms with simple decorations and plain furniture that are clean and attractive. 

We went with our friends and we all agreed that despite the restaurant still ironing out the service routines and the bar set-up, the food was delicious.  Our appetizers included Tom Yum vegetable and tofu soup, Vegetable and Soft Tofu soup, Calamari, and Blanket Shrimp.  All were well-prepared and tasty.  Our entrees were Crying Tiger (a delicious beef dish that we felt was one of the most delicious beef dishes we ever had) that came with delicious sticky rice in a very unique container, Mango Curry with tofu (they had no problems at all substituting the green beans with any other vegetable, we selected broccoli), Cashew Nut Tofu and Pad Se Eew with Seafood.   All dishes were wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed them.  For dessert, we all had the traditional Mango and Sticky Rice, which was good, but nothing particularly noteworthy differentiated it from other Thai restaurants.

Their house Merlot and Chardonnay wines added a nice bonus to our meals.  The meal cost us about $50 per couple with a glass of wine, but not including tip. We came here because we got a Specialicious coupon, which is a great way to explore new restaurants.

Overall, we would definitely return to i-Thai