1011 First St. S.W.,
Rating: *** 1/2
Client negotiations: Yes
Lunch with co-workers: Yes
Social lunch: Yes
Quick solo lunch: Yes
Time in: 12:31 p.m.
Time out: 1:15 p.m.
Low $: Asian slaw, $3
High $: Steak & potatoes, $16.49
Craving a lunch not layered between bread, I headed to the cool space of Cafe Koi.
Among the Asian-inspired dishes is a long list of vegetarian options. The Lotus Bowl ($13.49) is heaped with crispy greens (broccoli, bok choy, onions, and peppers) and seared tofu rubbed with five spice. The fragrant protein plays against crunchy roasted almonds, with everything tossed in a sticky chilli maple sauce.
Cafe Koi's signature bowls are enormous. The Szechuan chilli fire bowl ($15.49) bursts with plump tiger prawns and slippery Shanghai noodles.
Colourful portobello mushrooms, red peppers, spinach and napa cabbage fill out my daily recommended vegetable intake.
More meat-heavy dishes are also available including grilled sirloin and a popular Thai salmon.
Ordering is cafeteria-style (from the large wall menu, then pay at the counter) but food is served to your table for optimum stretching out of your lunch time.
Of note, vegetarian bowls/entrees are $2 off on Mondays.