Friday, August 23, 2013

Restaurant Review (Vegan Perspective): Blue Koi

Blue Koi. 10581 Mission Road. Leawood. KS. 

I wish that every restaurant had a tablet device attached to the table that allowed you to place your order and send the instructions straight back to the chef. I know I’m weird, but I absolutely hate giving waiters special instructions for my meal. I just get awkward. It’s like I don’t want to inconvenience the waiter or the chef. If I could simply type my order and text it back to the kitchen without any human interaction, I’d be in heaven.

In the IT world, I see jobs become obsolete everyday due to technology. It's only a matter of time before we completely eliminate the need for wait staff. I, for one, am totally fine and in complete support of my food being delivered via conveyor belt. 

Becoming vegan has made my interactions with waiters much more frequent, much longer in duration, and much more awkward. I usually spend a good couple of minutes discussing items on the menu before I even place my order. What has dairy in it, what is cooked in butter, can you remove the cheese from that dish or is it already mixed in, is there egg in the batter? And so on.

Hands down, the best restaurant experience I have had on this journey was this week at Blue Koi. Jason and I went with my brother and sister-in-law, professional Blue Koi diners and avid meat eaters. Blue Koi is NOT a vegetarian or a vegan restaurant, it simply caters to all guests no matter their dietary preferences. Many of the items on the menu are vegan (bubble tea is made with non-dairy milk), but my waiter assured me that EVERYTHING on the menu could be easily tweaked to fit my needs.

taro and coconut bubble tea

My sister-in-law and I had never had bubble tea and were anxious to try it. Our waiter recommended a combination of taro and coconut (this was not on the menu) since I told him I wanted something that was not too sweet. It was the perfect combination. I'm still unsure as to how you're supposed to really consume the bubble part - chew them or swallow them whole? I did a little of both, again, slightly awkward, but it was a fun experience.

We ordered the spicy chili pepper wontons as an appetizer per Bro and SIL's request. They typically order the wontons with a meat filling, but were very pleased with the vegan version. Tons of flavor, some heat, and a delicious sauce that we found out you can also buy on its own (I'm not sure if the restaurant officially sells it, or if our waiter was just willing to hook us up under the table).

spicy chili pepper wontons (boiled & vegetarian)

Although I ordered the Ants on a Tree, I ended up eating the tofu with black bean sauce entree. I sampled the Ants on a Tree, which was delicious, but was not in the mood for so many noodles. Confession: When I can't decide which entree I want, I convince Jason to order the other. Then, when both entrees come out, I determine which one looks most appealing and take that one. Jason obviously earns extra gentleman points for putting up with this behavior. Thank goodness he is so easygoing. 

tofu with black bean sauce & rice

Ants on a Tree