Hours: Lunch: Monday-Saturday; dinner: seven days
Open late: Friday & Saturday till 11
Combination Chinese-sushi restaurant in Evanston.
Koi, the sister restaurant to Chen's in Lakeview, is a pleasant alternative to the sushi-as-spectacle concept spots that seem to be all the rage these days. It's not that Koi isn't elegantly appointed; it's just not loud or intimidatingly chic. On the rainy night I visited a fire was burning in the fireplace of the small waiting area at front of the house. We sat in the warmly lit dining room (there's also a sushi bar) and tried one of the daily specials, a red dragon roll, which was beautiful and ample, filled with shrimp tempura, unagi, cream cheese, cucumber, lettuce, avocado, spicy tuna, and tobikko. Another maki special was wrapped not in seaweed but a thin slice of eggplant. Everything was fresh, presented without too much fuss, and delivered promptly. There are seven cold sakes on the menu, plus a house sake that can be ordered cold or hot. All the Chinese dishes you've known and loved all your life are accounted for: moo shu wraps, crispy duck, lemon chicken. The only minor disappointment of our evening was the dumplings: the vegetables inside were tasty, but the casing was too doughy. We were among the last tables to leave before closing, but we never felt rushed.
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