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kō•än has fantastic Southeast Asian Cuisine in the heart of Cary, NC. They opened their doors in November 2019 with a fabulous dinner menu but recently added an excellent lunch menu.
I went there to try it out, and I can’t wait to share with you how much I loved this restaurant and the food. It was kind of like visiting an art gallery, it brings people together to experience the beauty in life. I think you’ll see what I mean when I introduce the food.
Kō•än Restaurant in Cary, NC – Southeast Asian Cuisine
Welcome to kō•än and come inside. Let me show you around this upscale yet inviting restaurant.
Main Dining Area
You’ll find plenty of seating here with one large dining area, two large private dining rooms, a seating area by the bar, and an Omakase area.
And if that’s not enough, you can reserve the whole restaurant which seats 350 guests. This would work well for your company party or wedding reception.
Since you’re already wondering what an Omakase area is, let me fill you in. Omakase means “trust the chef.”
In the Omakase area, you and up to 30 guests will get to experience an intimate, adventurous dining experience with your own private chef and his tasting menu.
Plan this for your next birthday get together, and I guarantee, you’ll have the hippest party ever.
Full Bar With Side Lounge
kō•än has a beautiful bar with a side lounge that can accommodate 40 – 100 guests. It can be closed off and would work well for celebrations and special occasions.
Dinner can be served in this area with buffet-style spreads, plated menus, or both.
Inspired Southeast Asian Cuisine
Now, let me introduce you to the food.
We went there for lunch, and I think one of the best choices is the Bento Box because you’ll get to try several different menu items.
It comes with a Pork Belly Bánh Mì, Cauliflower, Edamame, Tuna Nigiri, and Macadamia-Chocolate Chip Cookie.
You heard me correctly. You get a cookie with your Bento Box. Awesome, right?
The Bánh Mì uses locally sourced pork belly and has pickled carrots, cilantro, jalapeño, sambal, and aioli.
The Cauliflower was one of my favorite dishes. It came with pickled beech mushrooms that my daughter fell in love with. (She begged me to ask for more.)
The Tuna Nigiri was incredibly fresh and delicious.
I love Salmon, and so I had to order the Seared Salmon Salad.
I wasn’t disappointed. Not only was it beautiful to look at with the sesame seed crust and daikon radishes, but the ginger vinaigrette was also fabulous.
kō•än offers several choices for dessert.
We tried the Blood Orange, which comes with caramelized white chocolate, cocoa rocks, and ginger pomegranate sorbet.
It was another work of art, both visually and taste-wise.
Meet the chef
Executive chef, Drew Smith, has a background working at other popular restaurants in the Raleigh area, including bu•ku and so•ca.
His philosophy is to spotlight cuisine from countries in Southeast Asia (where he’s traveled extensively) like Laos, Cambodia and the Philippines that aren’t as common to see on a menu.
He combines his love for these dishes with popular Chinese, Japanese, and Thai dishes to get his own authentic flavors. You’ll see this with his Vietnamese Pho Soup that is on the menu.
Here’s a recipe for you to enjoy from the chef.
Recipe from Chef Drew Smith
Ginger Mashed White Sweet Potatoes
5# white sweet potato/yam (Asian market)
2 C heavy cream
½ # butter
3 T fresh grated ginger
Kosher salt to taste
Toasted pecans and chives for garnish (opt)
Peel and rough chop potatoes and add to a medium stock pot. Add water to cover and a good few pinches of kosher salt. Boil potatoes until fork tender and strain into a colander. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the cream and grated ginger just to a simmer. Return the cooked potatoes to the stock pot and strain in the heavy cream. Add the butter and using a whisk, mash the potatoes until smooth. A little water may be necessary to get the right consistency. Season with kosher salt and garnish with toasted pecans and chives if desired. Enjoy!
kō•än has a tradition of bringing different types of cuisine together as well as bringing people together.
You may want to consider them for your next gathering, whether it’s a large get-together with friends after work or an intimate dining experience with a partner.
2800 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513
Visiting Cary? Embassy Suites by Hilton is a fantastic place to stay and is close to kō•än and Umstead Park.
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