Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mill Town Sushi Blues: A Not So Sad Tale of Great Sushi and Chinese

Greetings my diligent explores of good food far and wide and welcome to anther belated installment of Novice Fork food judgery. For our discussion today, I must confess I have recently been caught in straight up foodie ignorance. I regrettably admit that, living in and around Portland, ME for most of my life, I begin to think of the peninsula as the only food stop for the state. I know this is a very limiting view of food in Maine because tip to stern Maine is lousy with good restaurants.

However, with such an aggressive concentration of eateries in Portland, my personal vibe usually is: why go anywhere else? So an invitation to try a (relatively) new Sushi and Chinese restaurant in Biddeford (say whaaa?) was a chance to branch out, tuck in, and get out of my own gastro-way. 

Enter Koi, in Biddeford, ME.

11 Elm Street,
Biddeford ME 04005-2007

Specialty Roll. Unreal.  

The Novice Fork gives this Chinese and Japanese killer combo
4 Forks for amazingly tasty Asian food
at a surprisingly affordable price.

As stated above, traveling south of my beloved Portland for food I can easily get in, well, Portland is often a stretch. I mean, we have King of the Roll, we have both Miyake's, and we have Yosaku. Pretty fine roster if you ask me. But I wouldn’t do the readers out there their due diligence if I didn’t get the heck of dodge once in a while. So to Biddeford I travel, dinner date lined up and hearty appetite ready to go.

Upon driving to the unassuming restaurant, in a parking lot off route 1, the outside does little to quell any suspicions I have. The décor when inside doesn’t do much either. Standard, almost bland/nondescript colors do little to describe how lip-smackingly good the food is here. 

The menu is more of a translators dictionary of Asian all stars, the names and descriptions are familiar. But with Koi, it’s all about the execution, which as I discovered was spot on. Feeling overwhelmed by the large menu, my friend and I choose a bit from column A and B. Two specialty Sushi rolls, an assortment of soups (Hot and Sour and Miso) and an entrée. First let me say this was the BEST Hot and Sour soup I have had in Maine. Period. Balanced, savory, sweet and sour all at once, I could have had a bathtub full. And the Miso? Suffice to say it was also delish.

The sushi? Settling on the weekly special “Oh My God” roll (the name is well deserved) and the Tiger Roll, both had excellent depth of flavor and freshness. I could not stop eating. But the all-star of the evening was the Crispy Orange Beef entrée. Holy crap. It was literally plate licking good, perfectly crispy and flavorful beef, perfectly cooked broccoli, perfectly steamed rice. The beef was gone far to fast, in fact the entire meal was done before I knew it. There wasn’t much talking, and this is a great sign that the food is so good words aren’t necessary.

Lets not leave out the service, as this was also perfect. Very gracious, our server was always ready to refill water at a moments notice. Lastly, the price is so affordable you can get a second roll guilt free. (Wallet not waistline guilt) 

I was very impressed with this meal. Not only because I was surprised by where the restaurant was located, but because a good meal anywhere is a happy thing to experience. And yes, Biddeford has good restaurants. Who knew. So look far and wide, food eaters, your next meal could be right outside your door, in a different state or even Biddeford, ME.