Koen Japanese BBQ & Sushi – A Truly Memorable Dining Experience
Koen Japanese BBQ & Sushi (KoenLincoln.com) is one of the newest and hottest dining venues in the Lincoln scene. Not only are they new, but they’ve officially claimed the exclusive title as the only restaurant in town where you can enjoy Japanese BBQ flavors in such an authentic fashion.
Our group noted multiple times throughout our first visit that we weren’t just getting a meal at Koen, but an experience in itself. Koen reiterates what it means to share a meal and bring people together. “Koen” in Japanese means “a gathering place,” and that is exactly what it is. The atmosphere of the restaurant was upscale, yet there were many families of all ages dining together. There is no wonder why Koen believes so strongly in the saying: “The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” The whole design of the restaurant seemed to be the perfect balance of function and style. Tables have the ability to be divided into two sections to accommodate small groups, or kept open to accommodate larger ones. Though our group visited during dinner time, we noticed that there were lots of windows to provide natural lighting in the day, making Koen a perfect location for all types of occasions throughout the day.
The menu lists a wide variety of sushi, BBQ, and Sashimi options. There was not a single disappointment throughout the evening—every dish we were brought was over-the-top delicious. We started the night with multiple Asian-inspired signature cocktails, including the Japanese Green Slipper and the Koen Mai Tai. Very tasty! Following the beverages, we headed into our starter course, which was Miso soup. This is a simple dish of soybean paste broth, diced tofu, and seaweed flakes. After the starter, we dove into the sushi. Our first dish was the Heaven & Earth roll, a specialty roll that is almost too pretty to eat! The flavors were complex, consisting of salmon tempura, avocado, scallops, and a variety of seasonings to taste. The entire plate was an artistic display including (edible) gold leaf flakes, which our group was really impressed with. Amongst multiple other delectable sushi rolls, another menu item that stood out, for both it’s presentation and it’s taste, was the Flaming Tiger. This roll arrives in a swan-shaped foil wrapping and is lit with a torch to give the roll its smoky and unforgettable taste. The roll was based with shrimp tempura, cream cheese, spicy crab, and topped with avocado and siracha. Between our courses, we were brought the Koen salad, which was a spring mix with sesame ginger dressing and a variety of salad fixings. This is a great option for vegetarians who visit Koen, along with a variety of vegetable-based sushi rolls they offer.
The BBQ portion of our meal presented an entirely new experience, as we were invited into the cooking process ourselves. As each table is equipped with self-serve stoves, a variety of high quality pre-marinated cuts of protein were brought to our table; plated and ready to grill to our liking. A grill guide is provided at each grill with recommendations for how long to cook the meat depending on your preference. Specially-designed ventilation systems are in place at the restaurant to pull smoke out of the building, so you can relax in a clean atmosphere. During our dining adventure, we enjoyed all sorts of meats—from beef and lamb chops, to duck breast! Each one made our mouths water, but the one that really hit the spot was the wagyu beef, which can be identified by its marbling. Our group also had to fight over the last few cuts of filet mignon due to its tenderness and heavenly flavor.
To wrap up the delicious evening, our group was graced with two different items from the dessert menu. You can believe us when we say that the banana fritter and tempura ice cream will not disappoint your sweet tooth cravings.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to Owner Brian Choi, General Manager Inez Retnosari, Chef Felix, and the whole Koen staff for providing us with such a remarkable dining experience and unparalleled service at their facility.
Koen Japanese BBQ & Sushi invites you to partake in their daily happy hour specials, or order their freshly-made sushi for dine in or carry out. Online ordering is also available for your convenience. We would definitely recommend Koen for any date night, or celebration with friends and family. Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. every day, and dinner hours are Sunday–Thursday, 4–9:30 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 4–10:30 p.m. Follow Koen on Facebook (@koenlincoln) and Instagram (@koenjapanesebbqandsushi) to keep up with what’s new in the world of local Japanese cuisine options.
Stop in today! 2601 Jamie Ln., Lincoln | KoenLincoln.com | (402) 480-6116