12 things you must try at area’s best new sushi bar

Published: Monday, May 15, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Whether you're in a hurry or are looking for an elegant evening out, these are the top places to get sushi in Dayton.

At the beginning of last year, Sky Asian Cuisine quietly opened on Wilmington Pike.

The restaurant location had been through several different lives by that point. It was originally built as a Perkins, became Starlite Diner and then Sidelines Sports Bar and Grill.

It is a location that has struggled to gain traction over the years.

Sky Asian Cuisine now has more than a year under its belt, and I know I am not alone in saying I hope it is here to stay.

>> RELATED: First Look at Sky Asian Cuisine (2016)

The restaurant has found a lot of fans since opening. The online reviews are glowing and the parking lot is always busy during peak hours.

A few reasons why:

The interior of Sky Asian Cuisine. Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen(Contributing Writer)

THE VIBE

The restaurant’s decor and open floor plan convey a modern, big city contemporary vibe. Two nice sized bars — one sushi and one cocktail — flank the perimeter of the space that seats approximately 120.

On one visit, the music struck a hip chord that went with the decor including tracks from M83 and Empire of the Sun. It was impressive and catchy. On other visits it sounded like elevator music was being piped in bringing the cool factor down several notches.

But you don’t go to a restaurant for the music. The Asian fusion food Sky served up on repeated visits was fantastic (although at times uneven).

>> MORE: The best places to get sushi in Dayton

The bar of Sky Asian Cuisine will have an extensive sake list. It will host a grand opening Thursday, June 30 after extensive renovations to the interior of the restaurant at 4090 Wilmington Pike. MARK FISHER/STAFF

THE DISHES

The lemon grass seafood soup ($5.50) is one of my new favorites. The light broth packs a kick with several generously sized shrimp and a smattering of tiny scallops with cellophane noodles in a tom yum broth. It’s a soup that works regardless of the weather and is an evergreen favorite. It’s light enough to satisfy during summer and packs enough heat to help take away some of the bite of winter.

The coconut seafood chowder ($6) was satisfying and tastes like an Asian version of New England clam chowder with a creamy coconut milk base.

The complimentary salad that comes with dinner is topped with a cool, creamy ginger dressing over very fresh greens punctuated with cucumber and radish. It’s simple, but done right.

The pork gyoza ($6) was served up perfectly pan fried each time we ordered it with a crispy outer shell and deliciously soft, flavorful filling.

There is a long list of appetizers to choose from, but the gyoza, Indian pancake ($5) and crispy calamari ($8) were especially great values for the price.

The snowflake roll ($15) dressed with grilled sea bass, spicy lobster and avocado wrapped in soy bean or and served with an orange mayo and eel sauce is a decadent, creamy option that is as rich and savory as it sounds. Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen(Contributing Writer)

The Kung Pao shrimp ($17) packed a fiery punch with generously sized shrimp served with stir-fried vegetables, peanuts and hot peppers. It didn’t match the pile of shrimp the menu had pictured, but was a tasty dish that hit the spot. A variety of different entrees on the extensive menu include a variety of curries and General Tso combinations.

chicken negimaki ($15) featuring sliced chicken wrapped with crab meat, scallion, mushroom and asparagus with a mango sweet chili sauce is one of several interesting, must-try dishes on the menu.

There are several pan-fried noodle options that range from $12-13 as well as sizable noodle soups ($12-15) made with Japanese udon or soba noodles. Hibachi, teriyaki, fried rice and tempura dishes are also available.

The food isn’t just pleasing to eat, these are pretty dishes that are plated with intent and a create a satisfying visual start to the meal.

>> BEST OF DAYTON: Sky Asian voted Best Asian food 

Sky Asian Cuisine’s Pacific Roll, with yellowtail, lobster salad and fresh jalapeno pepper wrapped with soybean nori and topped with tuna, salmon, black tobiko, drizzled with a creamy, spicy sauce. MARK FISHER/STAFF

THE SUSHI

The menu’s shining star is by far the myriad of choices featured when it comes to the sushi.

There are sushi bar entrees, 16 signature sushi rolls, a variety of raw and cooked handrolls as well as a full list of sashimi.

The snowflake roll ($15), dressed with grilled sea bass, spicy lobster and avocado wrapped in soy bean or and served with an orange mayo and eel sauce, is a decadent, creamy option that is as rich and savory as it sounds.

The seared truffle white tuna ($11) served with yuzu citrus and shaved truffle is a nice way to start any of the meal options you decide to pursue.

Sky Asian Cuisine’s 5th Ave. roll, consisting of salmon, tuna, yellowtail, asparagus, tobiko and dried seaweed wrapped with soybean nori and topped with wasabi olive sauce. MARK FISHER/STAFF

THE DRINKS

The restaurant features a full bar and wine, sake and cocktail lists.

The lychee martini ($8.50) — made with vodka, triple sec, lychee puree, champagne and garnished with a lychee — is a light, pleasant way to kick things off.

>> MORE: New restaurants you must try

Want to go?

WHAT: Sky Asian Cuisine

WHERE: 4090 Wilmington Pike south of Stroop Road, Kettering

HOURS: Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday noon to 11 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 10 p.m.

MORE INFORMATION: (937) 949-9883 and www.skyasiancuisine.com

Sky Asian Cuisine will host a grand opening Thursday, June 30 after extensive renovations to the interior of the restaurant at 4090 Wilmington Pike. MARK FISHER/STAFF

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Some of Dayton's best Mexican eateries you may not know about

Published: Friday, February 19, 2016 @ 7:57 AM
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

A spread of adventurous food at Taqueria Mixteca mexican restaurant at 1609 E. Third St., Dayton. Foreground shows Huarche, background left are three different meat tacos and on right in glass bowl is Seafood Cocktail.
Staff photo by Jim Witmer
A spread of adventurous food at Taqueria Mixteca mexican restaurant at 1609 E. Third St., Dayton. Foreground shows Huarche, background left are three different meat tacos and on right in glass bowl is Seafood Cocktail.(Staff photo by Jim Witmer)

The Miami Valley could do much, much worse for Mexican food. From long-standing restaurants to mobile food trucks, we have numerous businesses that can fulfill your craving for something spicy, cheesy, meaty or sizzling. In no particular order, we suggest these Mexican eateries: 

>> Best of Dayton 2017 Winners: Food & Dining

>> 4 things to know about Fuzzy’s Tacos, new at The Greene

FAST CASUAL

A new Victor’s Taco Shop opens today in Xenia, offering a variety of Mexican specialties, including tacos, enchiladas, burritos, taquitos and tostadas, as well as omelets and breakfast burritos. MARK FISHER/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Victor’s Tacos

Multiple locations | (937) 224-3293 | WebsiteFacebook

Having just opened its seventh Dayton-area location, it’s no surprise this spot made the list. You have to try the big OH burrito — trust us.

Dayton.com staff writer Allegra Czerwinski takes a photo with Taqueria Mixteca's monster burrito for scale.(Contributed photo)

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A Dayton sandwich so good you’ll say: ‘Pork Lord, have mercy’

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

The Pork Lord sandwich at Fifth Street Brew Pub.  Photo by Amelia Robinson
Photo: Amelia Robinson
The Pork Lord sandwich at Fifth Street Brew Pub. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

A Dayton restaurant has three little piggies you are going to want battling the wolf in your belly. 

Fifth Street Brewpub, 1600 E. Fifth St. in Dayton’s St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood, might be best known for its beer. But the kitchen brews up some delicious grub, too.

>> Fifth Street Brewpub captures two golds in beer competition (July 11, 2016)

One particular sandwich stands out from the rest for a very piggy reason. 

>> 9 must-try sandwiches in Dayton

It is called the Pork Lord, and it had me at the words “pork” and “lord.” 

The sandwich is full of porky goodness, as you can imagine. But it will not leave you feeling like a pig. 

The $10 dish is a well-portioned combination of thin-ish sliced pork, bacon horseradish aioli and seasoned in-house pork rinds (called Crack–A–Lackin’s on the menu) on the side. 

Besides the ham and bacon, the anything but simple sandwich includes lettuce, tomato, onion, a fried egg and ghost pepper jack cheese on a telera roll. 

>> Fifth Street Brewpub release new menu (Feb. 9, 2018) 

The Pork Lord sandwich at Fifth Street Brew Pub. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

>> Your ULTIMATE guide to the best burgers in Dayton

Don’t let the ghost pepper scare you off. 

The sandwich has just the right amount of heat for those of us who love a little kick with supper. 

The egg was cooked to perfection with plenty of delicious runny yolk to sop up. 

The yolk flowed like lava when I cut into my Pork Lord. 

The sandwich is cheesy, bacon-ey, eggy and spicy goodness. 

>> These beefy burgers are well worth the drive east on I-70

>>  Guess how much Fifth Street Brewpub’s weekly giveback night has raised for local charities? (July 31, 2017)

The Pork Lord was added to Fifth Street’s menu in February. 

Tanya Brock, Fifth Street’s manager, said the Pork Lord has become a customer favorite and will remain on the menu for a while going forward. 

An order of thick and crunchy Crack-A-Lackin’s are $6 as an appetizer if you don’t want to go all hog wild. 

The Pork Lord sandwich at Fifth Street Brew Pub. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

WANT TO TRY IT?

What: The Pork Lord: lettuce, tomato, onion,  ham, fried egg, ghost pepper jack cheese, bacon horseradish aioli on a telera roll. The sandwich is served with Crack-A-Lackins, the brewpub’s house-made pork rinds. 

Where: Fifth Street Brewpub, 1600 E. Fifth St. in Dayton’s St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood

Hours: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays. 

Connect:  Facebook Website | Phone: (937) 443-0919

Cost: $10 

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The wait is over! Cafe is now open at new downtown Dayton library 

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

After much anticipation, the new Main Library in downtown Dayton will open this weekend. The $64 million gathering place for the community expects to have an average of 2,500 visitors each day.

This is news library guests won’t want to be quiet about.

The wait is over for those who want baked goods and a cup of coffee with their books. 

Table 33 has started serving food in its new location inside the Dayton Metro Library’s downtown branch at 215 E. Third St.

The restaurant’s soft opening started this week. 

For now, Chuck Duritsch, the library’s external relations manager, said the restaurant will be open 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

>>RELATED: Downtown restaurant preparing to open cafe at new Dayton library (Sept. 14, 2017)

Table 33 in downtown Dayton recently expanded its menu. Photo by Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

“Right now they are offering their delicious coffee, some drinks, some baked goods, some juices,” he said. “They are going to add to the menu. There are going to be boxed lunches available.  It will be a couple of weeks before their hours expand.”

Duritsch said the restaurant is also exploring the idea of a delivery service that would allow patrons to use an app to order food and/or pick up food from delivery spots designated within the library. 

Table 33 may also offer catering down the road.

>> MORE: 7 amazing things to do in downtown Dayton 

“They want to be responsive to what the patrons are going to be ordering,” he said. “You have to know your audience. That’s why they are doing this slow rollout.” 

Dayton’s $64 million, state-of-the-art main branch library opened in August. 

>> 10 things you’ll love about the brand new downtown Dayton Metro Library

The main Table 33 restaurant is located at 130 W. Second St. and opened in 2016. 

Table 33 is now open in the Dayton Metro Library in downtown Dayton.(Photo: Chuck Duritsch)

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This burger joint truly lives up to its name

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 10:11 AM

A cheeseburger, coleslaw and fried okra from Benjamin’s the Burger Master. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED
A cheeseburger, coleslaw and fried okra from Benjamin’s the Burger Master. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

People love a good burger.

>>GUIDE: The best burgers in Dayton 

It’s the cornerstone in the foundation of most popular fast food chain menus. Some burgers are so beloved they have almost a cult following. The South has Whataburger, the West Coast has In-N-Out, the Midwest has White Castle.

>>MUST-TRY: These beefy burgers are well worth the drive east on I-70

But there are a few locally owned places that deserve the kind of devotion as these national chains. I’ve written about my love of Voltzy’s Rootbeer Stand before and think it deserves to be firmly in this category.

Think if you've had one burger you've had them all? Take a look at at these and up your burger eating game. (Video by Tabatha Wharton)

>>MORE: 3 seasonal food stands near Dayton you HAVE to try

One Dayton spot that was grilling up smashed burgers way before Smashburger ever came onto the scene is Benjamin’s the Burger Master on North Main Street. Its sign bills itself as “a family eatery” selling ribs, chicken and burgers.

>>RELATED: Voltzy’s has a ‘Trump Burger’ -- and here’s what’s on it

The seating area at Benjamin's the Burger Master.(Photo by Sheri Sine)

A visit to this nostalgic throwback will transport you back to the early 1980s, when owner John Riley opened it 36 years ago. It’s like a museum of what fast casual food used to be back in the day — perfectly preserved with decor that is a fine, kitschy compliment to the homemade dishes being served up.

>>Bucket List: Stop at Benjamin’s, have a burger

THE FAMOUS BURGERS

The Mushroom and Swiss Burger at Benjamin's The Burger Master is $3.99. (Staff photo by Amelia Robinson)(HANDOUT)

Benjamin’s tasty burgers are hand-pattied and served made to order, $3.19 for a single, $4.39 for a double, $3.39 for a cheeseburger, $4.69 for a double cheeseburger and $4.19 for a mushroom swiss, bacon cheddar or pizza burger. 

Burgers come with lettuce, tomato and onion and the requisite ketchup and mustard. 

>>DAYTON CLASSIC: 4 reasons to visit the last lunch counter in Dayton

ON THE SIDE

An extensive list of sides at Benjamin's.(Photo by Sheri Sine)

There are plenty of sides to go with your burger of choice — French fries ($1.59), onion chips ($1.79), corn, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and green beans ($1.99 or $4.29 for a pint) are all options. Fried okra ($1.79) is an interesting choice you don’t often see and hints at the soul food infused into spots on the fairly straightforward menu.

>>Can you eat your way through Dayton’s ‘Burger Bermuda Triangle’?

BURGER ALTERNATIVES

Benjamin s The Burger Master s Burger Platter shown in an order that added a piece of skillet cornbread. CONTRIBUTED(HANDOUT)

Other sandwich options include $4.79 for a jumbo tenderloin or $4.29 for a chicken or fish filet.

For larger portions, dinners are the way to go. BBQ ribs with two sides and a dinner roll ($7.29), a two-piece BBQ chicken dinner ($5.99) and a three-piece crispy fried chicken dinner ($7.99) are all indicative of the affordable prices of the meals being served. Food can be purchased in larger quantities as well if you are getting carry-out or are with a larger party. A 12-piece box of fried chicken for example is $20.95.

Daily lunch specials are featured throughout the week and feature comfort-food options like chopped steak with mushroom gravy, lasagna, meatloaf and pork tenderloin and stuffing. Various cakes and pies ($2.39-$2.79) are available for purchase if you are feeling like a sugar fix after you eat.

None of this food is life-changing, but when you feel like a fast food burger that’s well worthy of a cult following, Benjamin’s has you covered.

Tender, crispy wings from Benjamin's the Burger Master.(Photo by Sheri Sine)

WANT TO GO?

What: Benjamin’s The Burger Master

Where: 100 N. Main St., Dayton

Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

More info: 937-223-8702

Don’t forget: Bring cash — the 60-seat restaurant only takes cash, no cards

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