Koi in Biddleford, ME – Outstandingly Unique Sushi in a very surprising location

My daughter did the 5k ‘Kennebunk Library’ Race – and when it finished, asked for Sushi for dinner. Oops – I know lots of restaurants in Southern Maine – but not one serves Sushi. What to do?

Well – sometimes you just have to ask around. We spotted some ‘locals’ – and asked if they knew of a sushi place. They quickly suggested the Koi in Biddleford – and showed us the tripadvisor reviews – it’s #1 overall for that location.

Sounded like it would do the job so we headed North. Biddleford is about 10 minutes from Kennebunk – and the Koi is right on highway 1. The building has clearly been repurposed – I’m guessing a bar perhaps. There’s a main room, and a side room. Nothing about the space, except the cleverly designed tables that fake a sit on the floor look but are really just standard tables, says Oriental – let alone Sushi. But there is one hard-working Sushi Chef in the corner – so I figure – why not.

The menu covers the range from Chinese, thru Pad Thai, to Sushi. We focused on the Sushi selection – and it was pretty intense. There were standard offerings, but the Maki (rolls) which are my favorite option, were truly intriguing. I was particularly interested in the fresh fish options – I mean, we’re on the Maine coast, fish should be amazing. And it was. We tried the Amazing Roll – it was great. We also really enjoyed the UpTown Roll which mixed avocado with fresh salmon. The Sweet Potato Maki was another winner. Less impressive were the Eel Speciality, not bad, just not great enough to want to order again.

To illustrate how impressed we were overall – when my husband arrived a few days later, we suggested going back – and had another delicious meal. We repeated our orders from the first trip – and added the Iron Man Maki. Yum. We also tried the Tempura platter – but were less impressed.

Bottom line – the winners are real winners, and I will definitely go back again. I adored the Amazing maki, the freshness of the fish was outstanding. Equally good – Sweet Potato Maki, Uptown and Iron Man. The Chef’s special that night – which included real Crab meat was also delicious.

Less impressive (I’d suggest not getting these) were the Fantasy Eel and the Tempura Platter. We didn’t try any of the other ‘cuisines’ – so I can’t rate the Koi on those.

B+ for sure – an A if they got a better Tempura Batter!


Koi Sushi Bar & Asian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Azuma – so authentically Japanese – it hurts!

I love going to the theatre at the Bain St. Michel – but it’s not my favorite location. Why? Because it’s a long walk from the nearest metro stop. Not the best reason to get upset about a location – but older lady – icy streets – long walk… You get the pictures.

But despite that issue – I’m often going to the Bain St. Michel – and thus I have tried lots of the restaurants within easy striking distance of the Bain – and by that I mean the least walking possible. One of my favorites is the Azuma.

I’ve been there often enough to be greeted – if not by name – then by favorite table and the acknowledgement that I’m going to the Theatre. And the recognition is not surprising – the Azuma is very clearly ‘in the family’. The sushi chef stands proudly behind his counter – and the waitress, hostess, and assistant cook (all rolled into one smiling young lady) is clearly a relative (I’m betting wife – but I’ve never gotten up the courage to ask). As far as I can tell – that’s it for employees – Just the two of them – running the restaurant, making and serving the food, and doing the dishes. It’s so Japanese, so traditional, so ‘family’ – it hurts!

They always bring us a pot of tea (free) and a tiny appetizer of beans with peanut sauce (free). Since we’re budget dinners – my friend and I order 2 or 3 different sushi dishes to keep to our under $15 including tip budget – eat and run to the waitress’ cheery good-bye.

Cozy space - but so nicely located if you are heading to the Bain St. Michele

Cozy space – but so nicely located if you are heading to the Bain St. Michele

Particularly good is their version of the Kamikaze roll, and I’m a fan of their spicy tuna as well. But they make the short list because of their location – and the friendly demeanor. It doesn’t hurt that the seats are comfy, the room warm and cozy – and not overly noisy. The bathroom is nice and clean as well – never underestimate the importance of a clean bathroom on St. Laurent.

Bottom line – going to the Bain St. Michel for a play? Want to eat for under $15 per person. The Azuma has you covered.

Azuma on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Azuma on Foodio54