613 E 5th Street
Dayton, OH 45403
websiteThe newest addition to the Oregon District, and the creation of husband and wife team Natalie and Jack Skilliter, Corner Kitchen opened in a long-vacant space at the corner of one of Dayton’s most loved nightlife spots as a place where people can go to get something upscale but down-to-earth. The deliberate craft of its owners is apparent in the restaurant; each dish looks pretty simple from the outside but gets more complex as you dive in; and in the end the food here really delivers something that downtown Dayton has been craving.
The restaurant’s menu sounds pedestrian at first, but the “finer diner” in fact touts many layers below the surface of its most simple dishes. Among my favorites:
- Mushroom quesadilla: This quesadilla is made with a mushroom mole, mango avocado salsa and queso cheese. Perfect starter.
- Rigatoni Boo Boo: A popular one, this rigatoni is topped with a sauce with a slight heat, meat, ricotta and peas. The spicy meat and ricotta? Absolutely perfect together.
- Fish Tacos: This particular fish taco is made with halibut and has a very, very slight heat thanks to a habanero ailoi. But a sweeter salsa evens it out well.
- BLT: In the literal sense of the word, a pork sandwich. Served with a crispy pork belly, lettuce and a tomato jam, but I’ll tell you those flavors go better together than the real thing.
- CK Steak: A New York Strip steak topped with a cognac peppercorn cream sauce, and served atop mashed potatoes. That peppery cognac sauce is an ever-so-slight addition to the meat while letting the steak stand for itself. It also makes a great gravy for the potatoes.
- Corner Burger: A made-in-house patty cooked to order just perfectly, and topped with a savory ludlow blue cheese. What makes it great, though, is an onion jam that adds a sweet to that savory cheese. Together, it all just meshes. One of the best burgers in the city.
- Chocolate Mousse: Pecan filling, cream cheese buttercream and toasted coconut on the top. The topping and the mousse are equally airy and light, and make a great finish to the meal.
- Fried chicken: One of my favorite seasonal dishes, and one I definitely mix. The recipe has a kick thanks to the mix of spices in the chicken. Plus it’s served with mac and cheese, snow peas and mashed potatoes. Very homey.
- Blood orange margarita: Sauza Gold Tequila. Blood Orange Shrub. Gran Gala and Lime. An elegant drink for a refined summer dinner.
The restaurant has a concept that fits perfectly into the Oregon District scene, and I think it offers something truly unique. The Street has its fill of dive bars, ethnic cuisine and very upscale food. Corner Kitchen falls squarely in the middle of those. Nicer atmosphere, but with a price point that makes it perfect to take a date to start the night. Crisp and professional, but not leaving you worried you’re under dressed.
Everything about Corner Kitchen shows finesse, from the carefully crafted menu to the simple but elegant interior. It’s a must try if you’re making a night out in downtown Dayton.
- If you can’t decide what to order, there’s a five-course tasting menu with a few different options on your main courses. A good cross-section of what you can try here.
- The restaurant isn’t open for lunch. But week nights are a good time to visit.
- Reservations, for larger and small groups, are recommended. There’s even a side room to rent.