Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Bite Sized Banter: Come to Koi

In the first episode of Bite Sized Banter, Kevin Hu and Lili Bannister review their experience at Koi, an Evanston restaurant.

LILI BANNISTER: I think this would be the perfect place to go if you’re a Northwestern student that’s looking for somewhere nice to go, but you want to pay a ton of money. Because of the Northwestern menu, I think that this would be like the perfect place to go to.

KEVIN HU: Welcome to the inaugural episode of Bite Sized Banter. My name is Kevin and this podcast was born out of my love to hear myself talk and my love to eat. And today to kick off our first episode, we have a very special guest.

LILI BANNISTER: Hi, everybody. I’m Lili, and I’m so excited to be here. I also love to eat and I also love to talk. So this is gonna be fun.

KEVIN HU: We’ll be talking about Koi, which is a restaurant in Evanston. So, pop in your AirPods and get ready for some of our bite-sized banter.

From the Daily Northwestern, I’m Kevin Hu –

LILI BANNISTER: and I’m Lili Bannister.

KEVIN HU: Welcome to the first episode of Bite Sized Banter, the podcast where we talk about all things food.

So Lili, any thoughts?

LILI BANNISTER: I thought it was fantastic. It was very good. I got the Thai tofu curry, and I’m vegetarian, so I have a lot of tofu here at Northwestern and it was good to finally have some tofu that was good, that I enjoyed eating. It was delectable. It was soft. If you’re a vegetarian, or if you’re not a vegetarian and just want food, I would highly recommend the Thai curry tofu.

KEVIN HU: Yeah, it was also like a pretty good price with the student menu.

LILI BANNISTER: Yeah, for sure. The student menu, all the entrees were like $10 and then the starters, which included sushi, were like $5. So I ended up getting Thai curry tofu and a sushi roll for $15 total.

KEVIN HU: Which is a great deal.

LILI BANNISTER: A very good deal.

KEVIN HU: Yeah, I would agree with that. I thought the food was pretty good. It’s nice to have some good Chinese food around Evanson.

I thought it was really interesting how the menu was organized by regions of China, which I don’t think you see that often. I thought that was pretty cool. I got this stir fry, squid and beef thing. I thought it was okay. I expected it to be spicier. I thought it wasn’t the most authentic to that specific region because it was grouped under this region in China and I don’t think it was that authentic to that region, but it was still good food. I wouldn’t say it was bad, I just wish it was spicier. I feel like that’s just a general theme across restaurants in Evanston.

LILI BANNISTER: Of just not a little bit not spicy ever.

KEVIN HU: Yeah, I would agree with that. Other than that, it was really good.

Across Chinese restaurants in Evanston, it’s a lot of random things as well. I know you got sushi — I’m from California and that’s not something you see in Chinese restaurants like around LA and stuff. Mostly, Chinese restaurants there, it’s one type of Chinese cuisine and it’s just focused on that. It’s probably overgeneralizing, but it’s definitely more focused on specific things in Chinese cuisine, whereas here in restaurants, there’s like Chinese food, there’s like, Thai food.

LILI BANNISTER: I got a Thai tofu curry.

KEVIN HU: You never see that, which is interesting.

Okay, this is a very niche question. But thoughts on the rice? Because you can tell how good a restaurant is based on how good the rice is.

LILI BANNISTER: I thought the rice was good. I liked the rice, but I wouldn’t say I’m a rice connoisseur. My only thing is that sometimes I like to just eat rice and I felt like this rice, I couldn’t just eat this rice. But, I still ate and liked it.

What are your thoughts, Kevin?

KEVIN HU: Yeah, I’m honestly not the biggest fan of the rice. It’s very hard to describe. Okay, it was kind of mushy, it was overcooked. I like my rice to be individual grains. It just kind of felt like one blob, which I’m not the biggest fan of.

The rice was kind of a flop but other than that the food was pretty good.

So yeah, any thoughts on the service or the ambiance?

LILI BANNISTER: We went at like 5:30, so it was still light outside, and I think this is the type of place you should go at night because they had a lot of like cool lighting and stuff, and we were there when the sun was going down and the ambiance was a lot cooler and cooler.
Oh, and at the end we got they give us fortune cookies and then these other cookies, and one of our friends, she didn’t like the cookie but I loved the cookie.

KEVIN HU: The cookie was bomb.

LILI BANNISTER: The cookie was so good. It was buttery and sweet and a little bit salty. And I was like, ‘Oh, this is delicious.’

KEVIN HU: Like the checkbook? It’s a literal book, which was iconic. Oh my god.

LILI BANNISTER: It was very chic. I felt very fancy. It was pretty full even at like 5:30. There was a good amount of people there.

KEVIN HU: Most important question. Scrumptious or not?

LILI BANNISTER: Scrumptious. Definitely scrumptious, for sure.

KEVIN HU: Yeah, I would agree. Aside from the rice.

LILI BANNISTER: I didn’t care about the rice. I found the rice was pretty good, so if you’re not like a rice fiend, then I don’t know if you would care as much. But if you are a stickler for rice, I guess don’t go to Koi.

But Kevin, would you go back?

KEVIN HU: Oh, definitely. The menu is just so big, such diverse options of food that I have to go back.

LILI BANNISTER: There was a million billion things on the menu.

Kevin took like 20 minutes to figure out what he wanted. And the server kept coming back, he came back like four times. He was very nice. The service was very good. He was very, very nice. I really liked him a lot.

KEVIN HU: And on the service, it was great service. They’re very attentive.

LILI BANNISTER: They came back like four times.

KEVIN HU: I felt very bad. I have problems with decision making. Especially with a menu that was literally –

LILI BANNISTER: It was like a Cheesecake Factory menu.


KEVIN HU: Thank you for listening to another episode of Bite Sized Banter. This episode was reported and produced by me and Lili Bannister. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Carlotta Angiolillo. And the digital managing editors are Sonya Dymova and Micah Sandy and the editor-in-chief is Jacob Wendler. Make sure to subscribe to the Daily Northwestern podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.

[music fade out]

Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]

— Koi brings in student business through new budget-friendly menu
— Sandy Chen builds on childhood passion, gives back to community at Koi
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