Clever Koi's Fourth Day Off Dinner Melds Asian with Italian with Crudo in the Kitchen
Every last Sunday of the month, Clever Koi invites another restaurant's team into the kitchen to join forces to create one five course meal. Crudo was the fourth restaurant to do a Day Off Dinner at Clever Koi, joining Welcome Diner, Crepe Bar, and Brat Haus. With a packed house, the kitchen sent out dish after dish of one-of-a-kind fusion fare courtesy of chefs Jared Porter and Cullen Campbell, along with their staffs. Uni, pig tail, and green tea tiramisu, along with plenty of tasty cocktails, were all on the menu.
Heather Hoch Five dishes, five drinks, two restaurants, and as much karaoke as you can handle at Clever Koi.
With five large community tables set up inside Clever Koi, I took my seat as the restaurant's guest.
Heather Hoch Prepare to have a new favorite pork cut.
First out of the kitchen was a crispy, fatty smoked pig tail with a tart and sweet pineapple gastrique and peanut for a bit of extra crunch. Paired with a carbonated Sauvignon Blanc drink mixed with Aperol, clarified lemon, and Lillet Blanc, the richness of the pig tail was cut with the dryness of the drink for a nice balance.
Heather Hoch When Asian dumplings and Italian pasta collide.
You really can't go wrong with handmade pasta and the nori-flecked pansotti at the dinner combined the best parts of Italian pasta with Asian dumplings. The dumplings filling pretty much exploded into your mouth with each bite, which was especially nice considering it was filled with silken tofu (to simulate a cheese filling) and bone marrow. The fresh shitake mushroom brood was so tasty it had diners picking up their bowls and slurping it down. Oh, and the pasta was covered in an uni bottarga courtesy of Campbell and paired with a bourbon, Contratto Fernet, dai dai, and ginger gomme cocktail courtesy of Joshua James, making it one of the best, if not the best, pairings of the night.
Heather Hoch This twist on a classic Italian dish didn't quite do it for me.
Bouncing off of the success of the first two dishes, Porter's take on a deconstructed, sashimi-like Vitello Tonnato had great aspects, but was unfortunately discordant as a whole dish. While the other dishes elements built upon each other, the crispy, fried veal sweetbreads, fresh raw tuna, pickled mustard seed, and micro arugula were all good but not harmonious. Despite all of those strong elements of the dish, the dollops of yuzu aioli overpowered the dish, making everything taste just like mayonnaise.
The redeeming element of the second course would definitely be Micah Olson's rye gin-based cocktail, which had Cocchi Americano, cucumber, and a watermelon shrub. The almost briney quality of the combination of rye gin, the vinegary shrub, and cucumber contrasted the creaminess of the aioli on the dish.