This contemporary Asian cuisine in Cary will have you craving more

Ko-än Pho.jpg

Fans of contemporary Asian cuisine will enjoy their dining experience when executive chef Drew Smith (formerly of Raleigh’s Bu-ku and So-ca) opens Ko-än in Cary in August.

We were thrilled when we were invited to So-ca to take part in a pop-up menu to preview some of Ko-än’s potential drinks and sides. Never visiting So•ca, we decided to get there prior to our reservation and sit at the bar to have a couple drinks.

The ambiance inside the restaurant was one we both enjoyed – and wish it was closer to our end of town, so we could visit more frequently. After sipping on some sparkling rosé wine, we made our way to our table and met our server for the evening.

We started off with a cocktail named “Scorpion & the Frog.” Made with Olmeca Altos Reposado, the tequila already had a sweet and citric taste to it, and add some more citrus, cucumber, cinnamon and agave – and you have a perfect drink for a hot summer evening.

The first of our small plates was the Duck Larb. But just what is larb? We had to look that up. Larb is a type of meat salad that is popular with the people in Laos and Thailand.

The Duck Larb, besides duck also contained lemongrass, Thai basil, chile, ginger, carrot, cucumber, cilantro and onion. We actually tore through this dish – as the basil and chili were very distinct. At $13, it’s a good plate to share with your significant other. We both agreed that our drink paired the best with the larb.

Next we got an item not on the menu delivered to our table – Ribeye Tataki. Seared medium rare, this was also a small plate worth sharing. The meat was accompanied by a couple dipping sauces that paired well with the meat.

For our large plate we were introduced to a traditional Vietnamese Pho with rice noodles, hoisin and herbs all soaking in a fragrant broth. Our favorite part of the Pho was the strips of Wagyu short rib that went with the meal. Cooked medium rare and with a perfect sear, this was by far our favorite plate.

For dessert, we were introduced to a Passionfruit Panna Cotta to share. The passionfruit was very dominate in the Panna Cotta which was delicious. We had Panna Cotta in the past at other locations that have been very bland – but you won’t find that here. If you order this dish, be sure you’re sitting on the side of the table where the coconut ice cream is closer to your spoon. We’ll just say the one furthest away that night got the shaft on the ice cream, while the other had a smile on HER face!

For us, this was a good introduction to what Ko-än will offer, and we will be willing to make the trek to Cary to try more dishes when the restaurant opens to the public.