The locals are trying to keep Kopio quiet since it opened a month ago, but you should definitely seek this little gem of an Asian restaurant out. Don't be put off by the hole-in-the-wall location, I guarantee you will have a once in a lifetime Asian dish or two.
I stopped in here recently on a quick lunch trip search in Calistoga. We were skeptical since the restaurant was empty, but trust me, we were totally blown away by the food. Hands down one of the best Asian meals ever! (I have traveled the world for over 40 foodie years.The flavors of these dishes are amazing and should not be missed.)
Owner/chef Alice is part of a Malaysian culinary family and her passion for this cuisine is obvious from the moment you enter the restaurant and start discussing the dishes. Alice performs alchemy with the simplest of foods that profoundly connect your palate with the extraordinary flavors that embody the essence of southeast Asia.(Geez, that sounds like a professional restaurant reviewer... not) The layers of complexity in her dishes are unbelievable and lingered (is there some sort of Malay herb that is addictive?) As I type this review miles away I am craving a Kopio fix ... It has been way too long since I had a great foodie high!
During our first visit we tried two appetizers Curry Puffs and Crispy Lumpia. The lumpia was good, the Curry Puffs interesting. Still to sample: Thai Basil Calamari, Mango Shrimp, Tori Canai and Chicken Gyoza. (All $4 to $9 - a great price for wine country). The House Special Salad, which comes with your dishes, is a mayonnaise-based dressing and quite tasty. We shared the Crispy Pata ($14); Filipino crispy pork hock with vinegar dipping sauce over steamed rice. Quite good. (The Filipinos like fat, and this is a great dish for that. So if you don't want fat, avoid this dish) and the Sambal Shrimp ($14): Spicy shrimp paste chili shrimp with onions, roasted peanuts and cucumber over coconut rice was excellent.
I called the following day for take-out as I wanted to share with a friend this new food find. Once we opened the box, we raced each other for the last forkful. OMG the Indonesian Shrimp ($14) is sublime...Milk curry shrimp with onions and cucumber over coconut rice. (I wish I had ordered two. No leftovers)
Next visit we plan to try the Singapore Chile Crab and Firecracker Crispy Fish, and sample some of her curries. Calistoga desperately needed a restaurant like Kopio's... We are lucky to live so close.
I had to laugh when Alice inquired if the Indonesia Shrimp needed more spice...our mouths were lightly on fire hours afterwards but it was oh so subtle ... and those flavors! Now that I think about it, I bet she was quietly laughing when she inquired about the heat. Be forewarned, if you can't tolerate heat, ask Alice to tone it down. Her spicy dishes start with just a hint of heat but the finish is long with a burst of intensity.
Kopio is hands down one of the most unexpected and outstanding culinary stops we have made in a long, long time!
I'm stuck in Seattle for awhile so if you read this review, and are heading to Kopia, say hi to Alice for me and enjoy!!! I am envious.
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