CO, a pan-Asian restaurant with locations in Charleston, Savannah and Myrtle Beach, is now open at Park Road Shopping Center. It’s a slick space with a dramatic 360-degree center bar that adds an elevated nightlife scene to the strip known for its breakfast and lunch spots. (For more on the restaurant’s history and ownership, see Amanda’s interview with Greg Bauer.)
I got a chance to check out the space and sample the menu yesterday. It’s lovely with clean lines and minimal decor. I love the long cafeteria-style communal tables in the back and the restrained interior design with neutral colors and pops of red.
More importantly, here’s what we ate. CO has a substantial 60-item menu, including dumplings, small dishes, salads, banh mi, broth noodle bowls, wok noodles, rice dishes and sushi. The cuisine lends itself naturally to accommodate vegetarian diners and all meat-free dishes are indicated on the menu. They also have a separate vegan/gluten-free menu for people with specialty diets. (I’m vegetarian so notes on what I sampled are in italics below.)
Before you dive in, don’t forget to sample their homemade hot sauce. I don’t like intense spice but I loved it.
CO Charlotte menu preview
Pork and ginger gyoza with soy scallion sauce ($5)
Spinach and water chestnut dumplings served in lemongrass cream sauce ($5). This was unexpectedly light and fresh given its ravioli-esque design and cream base.
Crispy edamame spring rolls served on a lettuce bed with ginger miso sauce ($6). Crowd favorite at our table. The meat-eaters that sampled the pork and crab spring rolls even said this vegetarian version was better. PRO TIP: You’re supposed to eat the roll with the lettuce leaf wrapped around it. We left it behind thinking it was a garnish.
Avocado ceviche served over spring mix, inari tofu, red onions, yellow peppers, lemon and cilantro ($10). Eats more like a salad than a ceviche but I appreciate the generous portion and addition of tofu and veggies to bulk it up.
Green papaya salad with shrimp, char siu pork, cabbage, jalapeno, peanuts, Thai basil and nuoc cham dression ($11). Another crowd favorite. I had a vegetarian version without shrimp and pork. I’d love it with tofu on top.
Korean short rib banh mi with kimchi and gochujang aioli ($10.50). I don’t eat meat but I can respect it from a distance and this looked really good. They also have a lemongrass tofu banh mi but we didn’t try it.
Pad Thai choice of tofu or chicken & shrimp ($14)
Salmon and avocado pressed sushi with lemon aioli ($13)
Inari tofu pressed sushi with ginger and scallion ($10). This was my first pressed tofu experience. It’s made with a stickier, starchier rice that’s layered with garnishes and then pressed into a rectangular mold. It is traditionally eaten with your hands since it is more prone to falling apart than seaweed rolled sushi.
Crispy cheesecake wontons with vanilla anglaise, chocolate drizzle and candied orange ($5). This is the only dessert on the menu and, again, the word of the day was light. For a fried cheesecake, this doesn’t eat like something that will make you take a nap immediately afterwards. The orange flavor of the filling adds a bright, fresh layer to the chocolate and cream.
The restaurant is open for dinner only this week. The first lunch service will be Friday, December 4 beginning at 11 a.m..
Sunday – Thursday 5 – 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
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