The lunch menu at kō•än Public Table in Cary, conceived by award-winning and well-traveled Chef Drew Smith and his team, is a foodie’s delight.

I was thrilled to be invited to taste their newly launched lunch menu. How exciting to experience Chef Drew’s (formerly of bu•ku and so•ka) cuisine. The kō•än menu is inspired by Smith’s travels through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and his time in Vietnam.

Blogger with glasses deciding what to order on lunch menu in cary's koan restaurant
Decisions, decisions.

The wait has been long, but kō•än Public Table surpassed many of my expectations. I’m happy to say Cary, NC once again houses a fine dining restaurant that surprises and excites!

The atmosphere at kō•än is dreamy. An elevated space that is simple, elegant and sophisticated with touches of gorgeous greenery and living walls. The beautiful wood textured furniture and fountains add to the zen-like atmosphere.

The surroundings are perfectly suited for a relaxing lunch in the middle of a work day. Cary’s kō•än is equally perfect for a lovely romantic weekend dinner or a fun gathering with friends.

The wait staff is required to have a minimum of two years experience exclusively in fine dining and it shows. Our server, Kelsey, expertly led us through the menu, enumerating the many components, highlighting her favorite flavor profiles and guiding us to find ours.

Small Plate

We decided to start with two items from the Small Plates menu-the Lobster Gyoza (cabbage, ginger, chile soy). and the Cauliflower (pickled mushroom, ginger aioli, scallion, sweet soy) .

The hand made Gyoza, were delicate, fragrant and the perfect start to a decadent meal. The Cauliflower was packed full of flavor and had the most perfect texture. It’s one of those dishes that will have you returning to the restaurant again and again, foodie or not.

cauliflower dish from lunch menu at koan public table in cary
Cauliflower Small Plate


Next on our list was an order from the Omakase menu. After more guidance from Kelsey, we ordered the Prisca Roll with salmon, avocado, shiso (a plant in the mint family), orange, cucumber and tuna. The flavors were light, refreshing and unique. Edible flowers, anyone?

I’m a push-over for beautiful plating and at kō•än, dish after dish is served up beautifully. I spent the first couple of minutes after each was served just smiling at the plates. Yep, I’m that much of a dork.

Large Plate

After the fresh fish came the Bo Luc Lac from the Large Plates menu; a dish with wagyu short rib, pickled onion, preserved tomato, braised cucumber, and arugula.

Inside scoop: Bo Luc Lac translates into “Shaking Beef” which references the way the dish is cooked.

This flavorful, mouth watering dish became my favorite after just one bite. The preserved tomatoes, pickled for days, were the perfect compliment to the beef, arugula and braised cucumbers. Who knew a sweet little tomato could hold such a burst of flavor inside?

I fell in love with this tender, savory beef “salad”. Order this dish with a side of rice, toss it all together and you will be the happiest of campers.

Bo Luc Lac dish fro lunch menu at koan in cary
Bo Luc Lac or “Shaking Beef”


Dessert followed. Could we eat anymore? Why, yes. Yes, we could. We opted for the delicious “Chocolate”- a luscious, dark chocolate terrine with passion fruit, milk crumbs (yum) and white chocolate ginger ice cream.

The pastry chef surprised us with a bonus dessert -“Blood Orange” (with cocoa rocks, pomegranate sorbet, and white chocolate). My go- to dessert is usually anything chocolatey and I am so grateful that Chef thought to send out this pure delight as a contrast. He knew what he was doing. I instantly fell in love with a whole new flavor profile.

If you’d like me to describe it, I’d have to say what I passed on to Chef Francisco Almaguer- “the combination of flavors were like a symphony in my mouth.”

A word to Chef Francisco- I am still fan-girling over here!

Blood Orange dessert from lunch menu at koan in cary
“Blood Orange” Dessert
Chocolate Dessert at koan public table in cary
“Chocolate” Dessert

I won’t soon forget my decadent foodie lunch experience at ko•än in Cary. I’m already making plans to return with friends for the Pho, Larb and Thai Red Curry. Oh, and the desserts. I love you, Chef Francisco!

Owner Sean Degnan, Executive Chef Drew, Chef Jeremy (Omakase) Chef Anh-Tuan (Chef de Cuisine) and Chef Francisco have really impressed with their innovative Southeast Asian inspired cuisine.

They have brought an exciting new dining experience to Cary, NC that will hopefully inspire others to explore the world. And now, we can do it without ever leaving our hometown.

The Details:

Location: 2800 Renaissance Park Pl. in Cary, NC

Phone: 919-677-9229

Hours: Lunch (11am-2:30pm Monday through Friday). Dinner -(Monday through Thursday 5pm-9pm. Fridays and Saturdays 5pm-10pm.)

Private Rooms available- Email

For a look inside kō•än, check out my Little Film of the Week:

Sign off See Ya Tmara

PS- Do you have a restaurant or small business you’d like us to check out? Email us about partnering opportunities at We’d love to help you spread the word!

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