Lunch at Clever Koi
Although we eat out quite frequently, with the number of great restaurants in the Phoenix area, I have a list of must-visits that gets longer every year. Clever Koi, which opened in December of 2013, has been on that list for quite a while. I was a big fan of Chef Jared Porter when he was at The Parlor (and even chose to Spotlight it in AZ Wine Lifestyle) and excited to hear he would be changing gears and cooking up modern Asian. I had since heard good things about this collaboration with Joseph Absolor and co-owners Joshua James and Nicholas Campisano, so when my friend Angela suggested Clever Koi for an overdue lunch date, I didn't hesitate. The lunch features are limited but delicious. There is a Build Your Own noodle bowl or stir-fry with plenty of vegetable, noodle, rice, and protein options. Two fried dumpling choices (creamy goat cheese with sweet ginger-scented beets or the "crispy pig face" filled with tender flavorful pork) and buns (pork belly on a steamed bun or chicken on a kimchi waffle) round out the menu. What did we order? Everything of course, and we loved it. To this casual but creative Asian fare, add Joshua James' excellent craft cocktails and great service from Ralph (who coincidentally I had just met at Nook), and it's a winning combination. I'm looking forward to a return visit for dinner to do some more dining and drinking exploration.