There is a new restaurant in town and its brief and enticing name is rightfully defined as “feast” in Vietnamese. CO is the latest eatery to come to the new shopping center in Waverly.
CO sits right across from upscale The Porter’s House and offers guests an array of shareable dishes and small plates, appealing to all the senses.
Greg Bauer, a former Marine, traveled internationally in the Pacific Rim visiting all sorts of Asian countries including Japan, Singapore, Korea and, of course, Vietnam. Arriving back stateside, he enjoyed the offerings of Eastern cuisine available but there was still something lacking in the options. Bauer sought an establishment with a more modern flair, one to update the image of the Asian restaurant perception many people hold today.
CO is the answer to what people are looking for if they’d like a casual but atmospheric evening out or midday lunch. Walking in, you’ll immediately notice the wall decor of various oriental design and iconic images lining the wall. The colors and minimalist scale are emphasized by large tables meant to seat many, though there are plenty of two-seater options available for more private affairs.
Alongside a friendly wait staff, the beverage menu is distinct with its assortment of boba tea, also known as bubble tea in some circles. For anyone unfamiliar with either, it’s a fruit-flavored tea drink characterized by its small marbles of tapioca. It’s usually served chilled.
The beers offered include domestics, craft and Asian imports. They share the menu with cocktails and sakes with various infusions. You’ll find varied fruits listed throughout as options for flavorings, with recommendations for anything with lychee or matcha.
Dishes that stood out amongst the starters and small plates included the pork and ginger gyoza and spicy crab rangoon, served with a distinct hot sauce. The mains are broken into separate categories, each marked by a little image as a gentle reminder to those who aren’t used to seeing the words Bahn Mi or Makimodo (sushi).
Of immediate notice are the large bowls of soup and noodles, Pho (pronounced ‘fuh’) where you can have the traditional beef stew with sriracha and scallions. Other mains included sushi like the California roll but then there is another category of sushi, pressed sushi served with maze gohan rice. The menu is broad with the sizes of the meals ranging from small, quick bites to larger entrée dishes.
One of the aspects of the international cuisine Bauer wanted to share was its universal appeal by capping the menu at $15 for the entrées.
“I wanted to give value because I feel value in the people I serve,” he said.
With a budget-conscious menu against an inviting backdrop, CO makes for a nice spot to feel the experience without much of the expense.
Bauer opened the first CO in Charleston and has since began expanding his name to destination cities including Atlanta and Savannah in the Southeast. It is slowly moving his way up North. With a location already established on Park Road, this is his second in Charlotte.
Though we all probably have a fair idea of what the Asian dining experience is like, CO is able to add to that concept and keep it fresh for the current trends. Located at the crossing of Providence and Ardrey Kell roads, CO’s menu of fine flavors will make it a desirable spot.