Restaurant Spotlight: The Clever Koi

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While we often feature authentic Japanese restaurants on our page, there is something to be said about developing creative menus and blending cultural dishes. The Clever Koi is a great example of this, and we are excited to feature the restaurant here.

History

Founded in 2013 by Chef Jared Porter, The Clever Koi offers a creative menu based on a variety of Asian dishes. Since its inception, the restaurant has won multiple awards such as “Best Ramen” from USA Today and “Best Happy Hour” from the Phoenix New Times.  Now in addition to the Central Ave restaurant, a second location is open in Downtown Gilbert.

Atmosphere

The Clever Koi is an energetic spot with the kitchen open as an extension of the dining area. The restaurant has a trendy feel- it’s ideal for a fun evening out with friends. Dining can be on the loud side due to its popularity and open kitchen, so I may not recommend it for a first date or business meeting.


Photo Credit: Instagram WesleyMJames

Service

The mantra of The Clever Koi’s service staff is “seamless hospitality at every turn.” According to the restaurant website, “patrons are warmly greeted by some of the Valley’s most knowledgeable and energetic front of house staff, that are focused and fully geared towards making your experience one of a kind, every time.” I have experienced excellent service in my personal experience as well. The team is attentive and happy to offer recommendations for food.

Menu

The restaurant offers fusion at its best! The Chefs proudly partner with Arizona’s food community to incorporate locally grown products as much as possible. In addition to Japanese themed ramen dishes, visitors can enjoy rice dishes, dumplings, and even sandwiches. I sampled the steamed buns during my last visit, as they are especially popular at The Clever Koi. The pork belly bun was the winner in my book, although I appreciated the “chicken & waffle” bun for its creative fusion. I recommend visiting during Happy Hour (11AM-6PM) for the best deals on menu and drink items.

Hours/Location

Phoenix: 4236 N Central Ave #100, Phoenix, AZ 85012
Mon-Thu: 11AM- 9PM
Fri-Sat: 11AM-11PM
Sun: CLOSED

Gilbert: 384 N. Gilbert Rd #101, Gilbert, AZ 85234
Mon: CLOSED
Tue-Thu, Sun: 11AM-9PM
Fri-Sat: 11AM-11PM

Happy dining!

 

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About Tara Brichetto

Tara is a Phoenix native who enjoys learning about the many cultural events Arizona has to offer. She is especially interested in Japanese culture after teaching in Japan through Phoenix Sister Cities. Tara currently works as an analyst and serves as a coordinator for students on CIEE's high school exchange program.

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