When looking around for a bite to eat in downtown Champaign, KoFusion comes to mind as a more “upscale” eatery. A little pricey for sure, but the nice atmosphere and solid selections can generally make up for the more expensive prices. So when entering the new campus location I was optimistic and hesitant. One of the hallmarks of campus restaurants is that they are affordable to students on a budget (like me), so how would the KoFusion experience translate to this new setting?
If KoFusion on Campus has one thing going for it, it’s the location. The intersection of Gregory and Oregon is home to a bunch of new businesses, including the new Cafe Bene (which has great waffles) and boutique Dear ; 72. Interestingly, the KoFusion downtown and the KoFusion on campus are both in the same building as a Merry Ann’s diner, a more late night oriented option.
Right when I walked through the doors, I noticed one key difference from the senior KoFusion: no table service. Instead I was led to a counter and scaled down menu with only a few options, which boiled down to stir-fry or sushi. The “create your own roll” option is unique to KoFusion, and one of the bigger draws when each piece is only a dollar. While I went for the chicken stir-fry, I did have a chance to try a few morsels and the sushi itself did not disappoint. Being at least a hundred miles from a major body of water I’m always hesitant about C-U’s sushi selection, but KoFusion is definitely a viable choice.
After I ordered, the service was surprisingly fast with the food ready in under five minutes. The create your own stir-fry was about on par with Flat Top Grill in terms of quality (while I’m still comparing the two, KoFusion’s stir fry was also cheaper). More importantly, it actually had enough chicken, which is a nice change of pace from some other stir-frys I’ve had in town (looking at you Sushi-Rock). The noodles were nice and thick, and my only real complaint was that it was a little bland. I would have enjoyed a little bit spicier stir-fry, but everything was well cooked and otherwise fine. As for portion size, there was more than enough stir-fry and sushi to go around. The build-your-own has potential to create some awful combinations (bacon sushi? pickled radish and cream cheese?), but what I had was fresh and tasty.
The restaurant in general wasn’t too crowded, with a more than a few diners shuffling in and out. The decor was interesting, and while seating wasn’t a problem for me, the space isn’t gigantic, and I could see it becoming an issue if the restaurant really takes off. I should mention that there were a few beers on tap and some other bottled beverages, which is a serious step down from the cocktail bar at the Champaign KoFusion (that said, this is an area of dining I wouldn’t know anything about).
Overall, I was pretty happy with my meal at the new KoFusion. While the menu is tiny and the experience nowhere near as “fancy” as the original, the food was satisfying and service was lightning fast. If you’re on campus and looking for a good bite to eat I would certainly recommend it, and I know I’ll be heading back for more Sushi soon!
KoFusion on Campus is located at 701 South Gregory Street (Suite F), Urbana, and open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Article photos courtesy of Jonah Koslofsky. Gallery photos (below) courtesy of Smile Politely Photo Editor Sam Logan.