Filling a gap | Rock Candy

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Filling a gap

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 9:00 AM


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Eureka Springs is known for a rather organic, Bohemian lifestyle. There are so many restaurants featuring all sorts of flavors and cuisines, it’s hard to think that there’s something missing.

But there is. That’s Japanese fare. Can’t find it within the city limits. Heck, until recently the closest sushi joint was in Rogers.

That’s changed. Seven miles north of Eureka Springs and just off Highway 23, you’ll find Koto Express, a little comfortable Oriental food spot tucked into the Holiday Island Shopping Plaza. The small unassuming restaurant has just a few tables (a few more are outside) and a small sushi counter. But what comes out of there is amazing.

I had chance to enjoy lunch there recently. I have to admit, I didn’t have high hopes, just because of the word “express” in the title. That word conjures up ideas of quickly made foods and diners shoved out the door. I found neither of these ideas to be the case.

One of my dining companions chose to go with a Chinese item on the menu, sweet and sour chicken. Instead of what we’ve become used to (tempura battered chicken bits fried up and served with that scary red sauce) this was a plate of freshly wokked chicken and vegetables in sauce with rice. It looked comforting.

I went with a lunch special featuring miso soup and two rolls, one a Spicy Tuna and the other a California roll. I appreciated the fanciful presentation -- the rolls were presented on a large square dish with plenty of room to pick up pieces, formed into the outline of a fish. Very nice.

My other dining companion went for the raw and ordered up Tuna Sashimi… and that tuna… was a beauty to behold. Soft, fresh, sprinkled with sesame seeds and presented with all the appreciation and flair shown dishes at a high-end establishment. Well done.

I am kicking myself for misplacing the menu… because I wanted to share the prices and the fact that in addition to Chinese and Japanese items, Koto Express serves up a few Thai offerings, including Pad Thai and a couple of Thai soups, including Tom Yum. Drat. Guess we have to go back.

You’ll find Koto Express at 5 Forest Park Drive in Holiday Island. They do accept call-ahead orders, which is especially great in the evening and during the lunch rush when those tables are likely full. (479) 253-8888.

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