Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Look at Koro Koro

Last week, Koro Koro officially opened for business, serving up onigiri (rice balls) and other Japanese-inspired fare, and it seems like they've had a pretty steady stream of customers since. I stopped by to check it out the other day, and while it's still pretty early on so I won't be doing a full review, I feel confident in saying they're off to a good start.

The space is small, but brightly decorated with a couple of tables inside and a couple more outside. While I could see it being cozy when it's empty, if there's a crowd waiting or any sort of line, it gets a bit tight. The menu with rice ball descriptions are hung above the counter, marking which ones are vegan and all of their options can be made with either white or brown rice. 

For my first order, I decided to get the Indian (chickpeas, carrots, raisins, sweet potato, coconut milk, curry and spices - vegan) and the Cochinita Pibil (pork, habaneros, achiote, cilantro, garlic, lime) as well as an iced Kusmi green tea. Each of the rice balls costs $3.25 before tax and the iced tea was $3. I was worried the size would not justify the price tag, but I feel like it's a pretty satisfactory deal. Because each rice ball is rolled fresh upon ordering, it can be a bit of a wait especially if there's a large order right ahead of you. At this point, service is still running with a few kinks but for only a week in, it's not bad.

One complaint I've been seeing a lot is that the rice balls are extrememly hard to open and get the plastic off of. This wasn't my first time opening a riceball so I sort of  disregarded that ....which will teach me to be cocky. It really was difficult to open the first one. I'm not sure if it's because I wasn't paying attention, if I was messing around too much trying to take photos while unwrapping or if it really was just a pain, but I had no problems with the second one at all. Unfortunately, the directions on the rice ball were obscured by the label, so that made it a bit harder, but basically, once you pull the red line all the way off, just grasp each side of the plastic towards the bottom and slide out so that the plastic moves sideways until it's gone completely.  Once the plastic was gone, the rice ball did hold together quite well.

I ordered the Cochinita with brown rice and the vegan with white rice and found I preferred the brown rice. The white rice, while supposed to be sticky, was a bit overly so and I found it made the entire rice ball a bit dry. While I wouldn't mind a touch more filling, I really don't have any complaints on that score (and it's not supposed to be mostly filling). The Cochinita was a little heavy on the lime, but both rice balls were extremely flavorful and had a mild but noticeable heat to them. I was pretty full after the two, but if you were looking for something a bit more substantial or were really hungry, getting a third or a side of one of the salads would be an easy way to round out the meal. 

I will definitely be back and number 1 to try on my list is the vegan Umeboshi made with pickled plums. 

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