The Buffet at Monte Carlo

In Vegas, they say it’s all about the buffets. Indeed most casinos on the strip have one, and you can walk right in and eat without gambling. In fact many are comped right to your room. Such is the case with The Buffet at Monte Carlo. Most used by the guests of the hotel itself the place has a plethora of options it serves for lunch and dinner. Of course, this casino was created by MGM as more of a budget option for the strip. You’ll find the buffet matches. In quality, not price.

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Dancing Roll

A sit-down sushi restaurant that was founded in West Chester, Dancing Roll recently added a second location in Hyde Park on Cincinnati’s East Side, with a menu that has broadened with the interest in Japanese and Korean food that has increased in the Midwest recently. This spot is best known and liked for its half-price sushi nights and its whole plates of great Korean specialties, which are otherwise not easy to find in a lot of other places in Cincinnati. This spot is one to remember.

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Sky Asian Cuisine

A newer Asian Fusion restaurant opened off Wilmington Pike in the Dayton suburb of Kettering, Sky Asian Cuisine focuses heavily on two things — sushi and noodles, both primarily Japanese specialties. But the restaurant’s menu spans a number of other East Asian cuisines from Chinese meat dishes to pad Thai. It’s designed to be a more formal sit-down kind of restaurant with its low-lit interior giving wide view to the sushi bar and good collection of drinks and cocktails bringing people out into the night. I like this place for its refined feel as a romantic go-to.

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Osaka Sushi & Hibachi Bar

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.

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Dragon King’s Daughter

With two locations in Louisville, Dragon King’s Daughter is a contemporary restaurant concept that combines two very unlike cuisines — Japanese sushi and Spanish Tapas — into one dining experience. I’m not quite sure what exactly inspired the combination, but it seems to work well enough to keep a steady following of people coming in the doors here. The concept works, though, in part because it brings out a lot of foods that people love and allows them to combine those in fun and interesting ways.

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China Garden Buffet

As many years as it has stood in Springboro, China Garden Buffet has been a spot for inexpensive eats, and an all-you-can-eat Chinese dive that attracts plenty for its quantity of dishes. You can get a variety of dishes here — sushi, chicken dishes and seafood as well as plenty of veggies — to try on that buffet. It brings in a decent crowd from Franklin and Springboro for cheap eats, but leaves something to be desired.

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Soho Japanese Bistro

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.

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Hiko-a-mon

With downtown Louisville changing at the hands of a ton of new buildings, more housing and new businesses, it’s a welcome site indeed that some great new restaurant concepts are populating around the city’s core, too. Hiko-A-Mon, a casual concept for Asian fusion-style foods as well as sushi, is a relatively new face in the core, with a particular brand of sushi that is easy to love and really not that expensive. The restaurant scene in this part of Kentucky is some of the state’s most adventurous, and I think the concept comes to Louisville’s core at a good time.

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Wabi Sabi

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.

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Osaka Japanese Steakhouse

With an appreciation for the finer things, Osaka Japanese Steakhouse has two locations in east and north Dayton, and each of them is focused on bringing a higher-end sushi and hibachi grill experience. Naturally focused on bringing out larger groups, the spot has plenty of different Japanese dishes to try, but those two are easily the first things you should try when coming here. The experience is good; bring a friend, or better a group. The popularity of the spot seems to speak for itself, with the many photos lining the walls of fans of the place.

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