This article is adapted from a “Gut Reaction” column written by Derrick Bracey in our sister publication Weekly Surge. For more local restaurant and alternative entertainment news, check out WeeklySurge.com.
The word “CO” is Vietnamese for “feast.” An Asian feast is exactly what owner Greg Bauer intends to bring to The Market Common with his new CO Sushi restaurant.
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CO Sushi Myrtle Beach is the second sushi spot with this name, expanding on a brand which just celebrated it’s second anniversary of successful restaurant on King Street in Charleston.
Though it’s too early to tell if the local version will share the same success as the Charleston restaurant, it has plenty going in its favor including a rising popularity of sushi on the Grand Strand and an ideal location next to the Grand 14 movie theater.
The décor inside the restaurant is a modern/contemporary mix, accented with aged brick, red walls and bright red booth seating.
There are high-top tables for two or four diners and a long communal table. There’s also seating at the bar and at the sushi bar, as well as bay doors that roll open to a patio for outdoor dining.
The artwork on the walls of this Myrtle Beach restaurant display a glamorous Vietnam, with vintage photos of beautiful models.
The atmosphere is casual with a touch of class as downtempo trip-hop and R&B music sets the tone and a mix of patrons, from the flip-flop casual Myrtle Beach visitors and families to couples on dates and after-work suits and ties all enjoy the ambiance.
An innovative menu
When it comes to the food, CO Sushi restaurant offers a distinctive menu that’s accessible for sushi novices and yet intriguing enough to keep experienced foodies engaged.
In case you are new to sushi — or just someone who enjoys thorough attention and service — the friendly staff will be gald to take the extra time to explain the menu to you in detail.
When it comes to sushi, the house specialty is a pressed sushi introduced by Chef Tarquino Vintimilla especially for the Myrtle Beach restaurant.
This means traditional sushi rolls — like the popular California Roll ($8) — are pressed with maze gohan rice to create something like a sushi sandwich. While the taste isn’t altered, the resulting sticky texture makes for a new pleasure.
Though the extensive menu is too long to recap in full, there are a number of standout options worth mentioning.
The Sashimi Ceviche section features choices such as the hamachi ($11) filled with yellowtail and a citrus/garlic zing and the ahi poke ($12) with tuna and a delayed sting of hot chili — both served with plantain and sweet potato chips.
In addition to a number of great options across the Nigri, Sashimi, Maki and Temaki portions of the menu, the Makimono area features Hawaiian ($13) and Crispy Dynamite ($12) rolls that are worth trying.
The Hawaiian roll explodes with the island flavors of tuna, pineapple and mango while The Dynamite Roll blends spicy sakana, cream cheese, masago and spicy aioli, making for a tang with staying power.
There are also number of Vietnamese food offerings include dumplings filled with pork and ginger, sambal beef and kimchi, edamame or crispy chicken wontons (All for $5). There’s also large bowls of varied noodles and rice dishes that range in price from $12-16.
Overall, the strong suit of this restaurant is the menu’s fearlessness. You can get your traditional nigiri or sashimi (single pieces of sushi) for $5 to $9, but there’s also unique choices like pork belly, duck and pickled radish as well as options for meat eaters and vegetarians.
The presentation of the food and the atmosphere of this modern sushi restaurant scream “urban and hip,” something not always found in this mecca of family vacation spots.
While the price reflects this and you can easily run up a tab of $75 or more with drinks and dinner for two, sushi is meant to be an experience and CO definitely fits the bill with a dining experience that leaves visitors wanting to come back to explore the treasures of its innovative menu.
At the bar
While the sushi and the food are the main draw at CO, the restaurant and bar can also serve as a great place for drinks pre- or post-movie or as part of a night out around The Market Common area’s evening stops.
The cocktail menu is pretty impressive, stocked with distinctive drinks.
There’s the Bloody Ginger Tequila ($9), Lemongrass & Ginger Martini ($9), Jalapeño Guava Margarita ($8.5), Mandarin Colada ($9) and Sriracha Mary ($8).
Other options include the CO 75 ($10), which mixes gin and champagne and the sweet and stout Blueberry Sage Martini ($9.5), made with gin, muddled blueberries, sage syrup and lavender. There’s even interesting non-alcoholic options like
The wine list boasts global selections ranging from $6 to $8.50 per glass and from $24 to $34 per bottle. There’s also six types of sake ($6-$22) and a varied group of beers including the locally-brewed New South Nut Brown ($5.50) and Charleston brews such as Holy City Pilsner ($7) and Westbrook White Thai ($6).
For those not having an adult libation, you can ramp up with a Vietnamese Iced Coffee ($3.5), rejuvenate with a Coconut Juice ($3) or relax with Lychee Iced Tea ($3), an ultra sweet blend of fruit and tea.
The bar also plans to implement happy hour specials in the coming months, and currently offers a Sunday Funday special with $3 Guava Mimosas and $5 Sriracha Marys.
Check it out
CO Sushi restaurant is located at 3098 Deville Street at The Market Common.
It’s open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Call 839-1733 or visit the website at eatatco.com for more info.