Same sushi. Same staff. Same general manager.
Not much changed for TwoKoi Japanese Restaurant during its six-month closure.
Except for the name.
Just call it TheKoi Japanese Restaurant now. That’s a reflection of the restaurant’s shift from two owners to one.
The restaurant’s previous co-owners were Jerry Hyman and the restaurant’s chef, Jackie Koh. Jeannie Han, the longtime manager, is now the sole owner of the 7-year-old restaurant. The downtown Tacoma restaurant closed in November ahead of a road construction project, and reopened June 12 after the project wound down.
After a first-bite visit shortly after reopening, I can see that Han’s version of TheKoi retained what I appreciated about the restaurant on the edge of Commerce Street, including:
A tremendous sake list: Tacoma’s longest sake list is one of TheKoi’s greatest assets. The two-page menu is broken into categories, including nigori, junmai, honjozo and flavored sakes. Further, the sake is sold by the cup or bottle, and the sake meter value is listed (the gauge used to differentiate sweetness or dryness). Note: During the first two weeks of business, the restaurant did not yet have its new liquor license, but has since been approved. Expect to see cocktails rolling onto the menu soon, said Han. Diners will find Han’s expertise a real asset, too. Few restaurateurs in town know more about sake than Han.
Fusion maki menu: Fans of fusion maki will appreciate what TheKoi offers: complicated, flavorful rolls with myriad ingredients, sauces and toppers, as well as nontraditional ingredients, such as the Angus beef roll. TheKoi’s style isn’t for every sushi lover, but those who appreciate Americanized fusion flavors will find familiar territory. Maki prices are on the higher end for Tacoma, with a handful of rolls hitting $15. (Tip: Visit Fujiya or Bistro Satsuma for a more simple sushi presentation).
Salmon lover’s roll: Consider this the most successful roll on the maki menu. Salmon belly rolled inside sushi rice, topped with more salmon and papery thin lemon slices ($15). It’s always been one of my menu favorites.
Dining room built for lounging: The two-tier dining room comes equipped with cushioned seating and roomy booths in a handsome dining room outfitted with pops of bamboo and hanging lantern globes. TheKoi also has the roomiest sushi bar in town. Grab yourself a seat.