CO restaurant began in 2012 in Charleston and quickly gained fans of its flavorful Asian cuisine. The restaurant has taken over the Southeast by opening additional locations in Charlotte, Savannah, Myrtle Beach and now Atlanta, where it opened its doors earlier this summer — in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood — and began to offer stunning Asian dishes that not only excite the taste buds, but all the senses. CO is a sleek, contemporary restaurant with a red and black motif and floor-to-ceiling windows that make sure diners can see and be seen. In fact, the restaurant’s streaming natural light offers fantastic conditions for food bloggers, Instagrammers and amateur photographers to capture the beauty of every tasty dish that arrives at the table.
Speaking of tasty dishes, the huge menu is full of wonderful options representing a culinary journey through Asia. The bites menu highlights everything from dumplings, banh mi sandwiches, spring and summer rolls and salads. CO’s mango summer rolls, $7, make surviving Atlanta’s humidity that much easier with their refreshing combination of mango, mint, cilantro, avocado and lettuce, with tasty dipping sauces on the side. Another spectacular way I started my meal was with the ahi poke, $13. This “small” dish is no small dish at all — it’s a large bowl filled with a spring mix and covered with super fresh tuna, mixed in a soy, sesame and sambal chili seasoning, and served with plantain and sweet potato chips on the side. Other standouts on the menu include the Malaysian chili wings, $7.50, featuring wings marinated in coconut milk and tossed in a pineapple, ginger, lemongrass and chili sauce, and the spicy pulled pork tacos, $8.
Besides the wonderful flavor combinations and authentic ingredients, the portions are quite large. And let’s face it — the only thing better than eating good food is eating a lot of good food. Keep that in mind when ordering, especially when you consider the gigantic noodle bowls. If you love pho, there are some great offerings, including beef pho, $12, with rare beef, bean sprouts, Thai basil, Sriracha in a beef broth; pho dac blet, $14.50, with beef, meatballs, shredded chicken and herbs; and of course, the ever popular curry laksa. CO’s curry laksa, $15, features shrimp, shredded chicken, bun rice noodles, cucumber, Thai basil and baby bok choy, all served in a refreshingly spicy coconut broth. In my opinion, CO’s take on this traditional dish is a bit milder, which makes a great choice for those just jumping on the laksa train or for diners who can’t handle too much scorch.
Asian standbys like pad Thai, spicy udon and drunken Thai noodles are all included on CO’s extensive noodle menu, with almost every one offering a choice between tofu, shrimp, chicken, steak or other protein, depending on the dish. I dug deep into the Hanoi noodles, $14, with tofu as my protein of choice. The massive rice noodle dish (seriously, it’s a gigantic portion) includes a variety of veggies, like onion, napa cabbage, zucchini and, of course, rich, vivid yellow curry. I was stuffed to the gills, so on my next visit I’m definitely hitting up the Korean rice bowl, $12, which features a long list of lip-smacking ingredients like marinated work steak, a sunny side egg, kimchi sprouts and other veggies, atop fragrant Jasmine rice and sweet and spicy gochujang sauce.
Finally, I saved my favorite CO dish for last. I love sushi, and the restaurant has some wonderful makimono selections, but I wanted to save real estate in my stomach for something that I had never tried before. That’s when I saw it: pressed sushi. Also known as oshizushihako, I had never tried pressed sushi before — think of it as an open-faced rectangle of sushi, with similar flavors wrapped in a new and sleek packaging. There are a few varieties like spicy tuna, inari tofu and unagi, but as I LOVE anything with avocado, I ordered the salmon and avocado pressed sushi, $13. This sushi features a tangy lemon aioli and small slice of lemon topping the delicious brick o’ rice. By the way, the rice itself doesn’t taste like standard sushi rice — it’s a flavor factory that flips the sushi taste on its head.
Besides the wonderful food, try CO’s signature cocktails and drink menu. The cucumber mojito and blackberry bourbon fizz offer cool ways to tone down the spicier dishes; the sake infusions mix traditional sake with flavorful ingredients like elderflower liqueur, lychee and lemongrass. Alcohol isn’t your thing? CO’s boba tea is a choose-your-own-adventure experience in a cup, with base options like milk tea and matcha green tea, and toppings that include tapioca pearls, kiwi boba and mango jelly.
The combination of a modern take on Asian cuisine, filling portions and a zen vibe makes CO the perfect place to expand your palate and take your taste buds on a trip around the world.
If you are in Atlanta, Charlotte, Charleston, Savannah or Myrtle Beach, you need to try CO!
For restaurant hours and locations, please see eatatco.com.
Find even more places to dine out in and around Atlanta in our “Food & Dining” section.