Restaurants , Japanese Midtown West
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Unlike the first-name-worthy Nobu and Masa, Los Angeles’s Koi has never been about the chef; it’s about the scene, as listers from A to D work the tables. The dining room is more sedate than the lounge, despite the plastic Erector Set–style sculpture hugging the ceiling. There’s a real koi pond in the floor of the dining area, where bamboo shoots line the perimeter, and the space has been carved into three levels. The cold dishes are positioned as de facto appetizers, the hot dishes serve as entrées, and the sushi falls in between as a wild card. How you order doesn’t much matter: Everything comes out whenever it’s ready, and everything is served as a share plate. Sushi purists, take note: Koi is at its weakest with standard maki and cut rolls, and hits high notes only when the chef riffs with the raw fish.

Venue name: Koi
Address: Bryant Park Hotel, 40 W 40th St
New York
Cross street: between Fifth and Sixth Aves
Opening hours: Sun, Mon noon–2:30pm, 6–10pm; Tue–Sat noon–2:30pm, 5:30–11pm
Transport: Subway: B, D, F, V to 42nd St–Bryant Park; 7 to Fifth Ave
Price: Average main course: $23. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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