It’s pretty hard to find a place in the midwestern United States that does Korean barbecue — the distinctive style of cooking raw meats on a hot element is something that is easy to embrace…once you’re already familiar with the process. So around here, it doesn’t have much of a following. But if you want an introduction on the idea, a good place to go would be Kaya Grill & Sushi, a Columbus spot that specializes in Korean and Japanese cooking. But the best thing to try in the restaurant has to be this unique way of eating, both for its rarity in this area and for the potential to really walk away satisfied you’ve had a great meal.
As the Cincinnati suburbs have expended north, nicer restaurant concepts have emerged alongside them. The Voice of America Park is one of several major shopping developments to emerge in the growing Interstate 75 corridor between Cincinnati and Columbus. But even as that allows for a measure of creativity, the concepts here tend to be upscale, old-school and focusing on making quality food and experiences. Soho Japanese Bistro is one of the prime examples, and a great one at that.
The concept of nicer dining restaurants with the location just about every major city in the country, Fleming’s Steakhouse is the epitome of the idea of quality dropping quantity in classic American cuisine. The spot offers a lot of upscale drinks, nicer appetizers and of course surf and turf to your hearts content. It is really nice, the restaurant is great on the inside, and I would consider it a safe dining experience.
A sushi house with a few favorite Chinese dishes, Shen’s Szechuan & Sushi — formerly known as Mr. Lee’s Fine Dining — looks to bring an upscale dining experience to the neighborhoods north of Dayton. This spot keeps it classy with dozens of great options for sushi, including a new specialty roll that comes out weekly, from its experienced chefs. The prices here are a little higher than what is average in the market, but I found them to be worth it, experience is a good one and the staff is great.
It’s organized as the second brewpub co-op in the nation, and Fifth Street Brewpub in the neighborhood east of downtown Dayton generated a lot of hype when it first opened, having attracted over 2,000 members at this point for something of a neighborhood bar concept. But while it added food as it has spun up, those craft brews it was created to churn out proved elusive; months went by and they still weren’t brewing their own beer. And now, finally, Fifth Street’s first brews are starting to churn out. But what makes Fifth Street such a great place to go isn’t the brews, or the food, really. It’s the great people that have made this spot happen.
As one of the many refined dining destinations at The Greene in east Dayton, Choe’s Asian Gourmet is an upscale purveyor of both Chinese and Thai dishes as well as sushi and vegetarian dishes. It’s a classy little joint, the kind with a very sleek contemporary feel and where you might want to dress up a little. The people here seem to pride themselves on creating an excellent dining experience, and you certainly will find that there is plenty to appreciate here.