While there are a few Asian-themed buffets around Dayton, what Osaka Japanese Steakhouse offers the region is a very unique experience. Opened in what has for several years been a series of family dining restaurants, this one is a higher-priced buffet of Far Eastern cuisines you won’t find in many other places around town, and certainly not all under one roof. From Peking duck to octopus, frog legs and, yes, a sushi conveyor belt, this spot is a place to go when you’re feeling like a very adventurous experience.
Chinatown: in Washington DC, it’s where you will find a taste of East Asia that is unmatched. Noodle houses, sushi restaurants and karaoke bars pack this popular district in downtown DC, and you can find all kinds of ranges of quality of food to be tried here. Resisting the rapid gentrification of surrounding blocks, spots like Wok n Roll offer something a bit old fashioned: cheap, greasy noodles. But it never really goes beyond the kind of place you go to grab something to fill you up. In that way, it’s a pretty safe place to try.
A new concept opened in downtown Covington, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati, Wabi Sabi is a well-groomed little neighborhood shop that specializes in sushi creations. The food you try here is designed to be inexpensive, a little adventurous, and overall the kind of sushi that gets people who don’t like sushi to have an appreciation for the food. Eschewing the traditional fine dining feel of most sushi restaurants in favor of a casual concept that feels more comfortable, you’ll probably first set foot in this place for its frequent offer of half-price sushi. But then that sushi will keep you coming back.
Oakley has a lot of kinds of food to try, owing to the young and adventurous population of this vibrant northeast Cincinnati suburb. So you can find just about anything you like in this neighborhood, including the pan-Asian tastes you can enjoy at Yat Ka Mein. This spot has the noodles you’re crazing whether they’re Japanese, Thai, Singapore or elsewhere. Noodle shops like this are focusing on ways to provide dishes that are more healthy, and in light of that, a lot of kinds of noodles you might not otherwise be familiar with can be found here.
While northern Cincinnati’s suburbs have changed drastically over the past 25 years, Grand Oriental has remained a mainstay on Fields Ertel Road. Since 1988, this upscale Chinese restaurant has served not only popular traditional Americanized Chinese food, but a more traditional Cantonese tradition called “dim sum,” where small dishes of different traditional foods are served in steamer baskets, with servers bringing many different kinds of these dishes around the restaurant and diners pick out what they like. It’s not common to find this kind of dining around Ohio, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
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.
Just opened on Brown Street, Ginger and Spice Asian Bistro is Dayton’s latest take on noodles. It’s the latest in a recent trend of pan-Asian noodle houses opening around college campuses in this part of the country, driven in part by convenience and in part by the higher popularity of fast-casual Asian dishes that are packed for convenience. Ginger serves up styles including Korean jam pong, Chinese lo mein, pad Thai and Vietnamese pho. Of course there may be some things here the average Midwesterner might not be accustomed to, but this spot has a lot to offer.
China Buffet off Fifth Street near Downtown Dayton is a corner Chinese spot where people frequent most commonly as a place for cheap eats. If you pass through nearby Oregon District you are apt not to notice the spot, but it stays popular with the folks in the surrounding neighborhood both because it has a lot of food for not too much money, and because a takeout option gets it to go.
Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet is an expansive buffet option serving Kettering in the suburban region of south Dayton. At the confluence of Wilmington Pike and Stroop Road, it’s a popular site for the neighborhood and attracts a lot of folks from the area for its convenience and the wide variety of foods that it serves. Still, though, my experience on the dishes here was mixed.