My second sushi stop in Pearl River, which appears to have more sushi per capita than any small town I’ve ever encountered was Koi 21. It is aptly named as a major attraction of the restaurant is a large (I’m guessing at least 1,000 gallons) indoor Koi pond with a waterfall and probably three dozen Koi. The colorful Japanese fish, selectively bred from Chinese carp are fun to watch. Some, I was told by the owner are 30 years old. (Although the restaurant just opened – the “Grand Opening” banner is still flying outside – the fish were installed by the prior owner who operated at the location for many years before retiring and selling out to the current Chinese ownership. I have Koi myself and some of Koi 21’s were very nice specimens; some were 18 inches long and looked well-fed. Kids would love it and there is a children’s hibachi menu.
The restaurant has a small (four seat) sushi bar and plenty of table space. I always go for the bar. It being lunchtime, I went with the Sushi and Sashimi lunch combo, a bargain at $14.95. In addition to soup or salad, you get 8 pieces of sashimi, four pieces of nigiri sushi and a tekka maki (tuna roll). All the fish were very fresh.
The sashimi came in a presentation I have never seen before; I will try to describe it as best I can. Take a glass serving bowl and put a battery operated light that changes colors (reminded me of the wild tables and chairs at Morimoto’s Philadelphia restaurant and sushi bar). Cover that with ice; the lights shine through the ice. Put the sashimi on top of the ice protected by shiso leaves. There you have it. Interesting and a bit of fun.
There are also a la carte sushi and sashimi options as well as all the specialty rolls that Americans demand of their sushi bars. In addition, there are noodle dishes, teriyaki, hibachi and bento boxes.
Of note, they have a well-curated selection of 8 sakes, arranged by “Beginner,” Sake Drinker” and “Expert,” priced accordingly and served cold. I prefer my sake “karakuchi” (very dry) and one was available but I opted for my favorite Asahi Super Dry. American beers are available as well.
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