Weekly Dish: Southeast Texan offers his take on traditional Japanese cuisine

Ike Chile appetizer

Soft pop music plays in the background, light fixtures leisurely transition from color to color while you relax on a love seat that has become dining room seating. You are in Koi Japanese Sushi Bar & Lounge on Dowlen Road in Beaumont.

Koi serves traditional Japanese food with a hint of Southeast Texas mixed in. Owner Tony Nguyen, who is from the Golden Triangle, is no stranger to the restaurant industry. He has been in and around restaurants through his family and friends, he even learned to prepare sushi from a professional sushi chef. These skills led him to open Koi in 2012.

Koi’s atmosphere is unlike anything else in Southeast Texas: It is cool, smart, and modern. Once you are inside and adjusted, you seem to forget you are even in Beaumont. The seating arrangements are a mix of half booths, chairs and love seats, making it feel like something straight out of New York or Austin. The lights and music bring the word “chic” to mind and definitely set the tone for the rest of the meal. Overall, the restaurant had many aesthetic pieces working together to form the effortless swagger of the restaurant...

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