Guests at Royal Ginger Asian Fusion Bistro can select from a staggering variety of flavorful meat- and seafood-laden dishes on the restaurant's sprawling menu. Diners can dive through reefs of egg rolls to spear a steamed or pan-roasted Chilean sea bass ($20.99) or cut up grilled filet mignon and shrimp ($22.99) into pieces small enough to inhale. The japanese eggplant garlic sauce or thai red curry sauce can be paired with meat ($13.99) or prawns ($16.99), or it can be easily veganized with tofu ($13.99) at the swoosh of a magic fennel wand.
A part-time college job turned into a career when John Ko married the daughter of China Dynasty's original owners. John, his wife, and his in-laws are content with maintaining the same traditions that have lasted more than 25 years. John's mother-in-law continues to work in the kitchen as head chef, cooking a familiar assortment of classic Chinese dishes that draws inspiration from various regional styles throughout the country. Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce, Cantonese-style roast duck, and spicy Szechwan green beans with chicken represent just a handful of dishes that have endured at China Dynasty over the decades.
A golden statue of a jovial, laughing Buddha greets diners as soon as they enter the restaurant's expanded space, which features two dining rooms as well as a full-service bar area. Lipstick-red chairs surround the tables that fill the intimately lit space, and red accent walls similarly add a splash of color amid the rooms' pale green and tan color schemes. In addition to the Buddha statue, China Dynasty features a small collection of traditional Asian artwork and artifacts on its walls, including silk clothing, oversized Chinese hanzi, and baby pictures of the restaurant's first lo mein noodle.
At Shoku, morsels of succulent beef, marinated chicken, and ocean-fresh seafood fill out feasts of Japanese noodles and sushi or dishes inspired by national favorites of Asian nations including Korea, China, and Thailand. Broth-soaked udon noodles jostle for attention with plates of pad thai, pan-fried pot stickers, and bowls of sizzling beef bulgogi. Guests take a seat inside to watch a master chef deftly carve seafood at the sushi table, or they can lounge under umbrellas at the outdoor seating to watch the passing foot traffic and hourly soapbox derbies along Grandview Avenue.
When Basil Restaurant opened in 2009, the Columbus Dispatch reported on owner Rhome Ruanphae's inspiration: his mother’s string of successful Thai restaurants—beginning with Thai Village in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood—that she ran with her husband while he was growing up. Rhome borrowed his mother’s culinary mastery for Basil, which teleports taste buds to Thailand with a menu of authentic Southeast Asian cuisine. Chefs gather rice or egg noodles to lay the foundation for many entrees, such as specialty kee mow, a soft or crispy maelstrom of rice noodles with thai basil, tomatoes, and bell peppers. The menu also features a rainbow of curries, soups, salads, and appetizers to keep ravenous diners from eating their napkins.
The seasoned confines of a former antique shop welcome diners to Basil Restaurant, decked out with bare brick and a retro advertisement for ice painted on the back wall. As a glittering chandelier casts light on colorful curries, wine-dark panels of varnished wood gaze at diners from the wall, and exposed lengths of ductwork add a neoindustrial aesthetic without the overkill of steam-powered dessert trays or austere Orwellian maitre d's.
Two Fish Bistro is the yang to the yin of Red, a sushi bar in the same building also owned by the Daeoh group. While Red draws out the essence of raw seafood, Two Fish unleashes the flavors of its flame-kissed counterpart to craft a menu that 614 calls "concise and approachable." To introduce diners to their distinct flavor parings, Two Fish's chefs assemble mini fish tacos from housemade crispy flour chips, sautéed whitefish, and garlic-parmesan aioli. Their entrees draw on wild-caught seafood purchased fresh daily, such as the specialty tuna, a walnut-crusted, medium-rare cut that perches on a pillow of fluffy wasabi mashed potatoes with a maple-butter reduction and treats diners to the satisfying crunch of a charred-scallion garnish. To accent its colorful, carefully plated cuisine, Two Fish keeps its interior sleek and simple. Several enormous windows marry form and function, bathing the square wooden tables and mixed wood walls in natural sunlight or the unnatural glow of bioluminescent snowflakes. Three flat-screen TVs watch over a gray stone bar, surrounded on all sides by minimalist low-rise chairs.
Red Bar Sushi's talented chefs grace tables with servings of fresh seafood and Japanese fare. Standard rolls, such as the veggie-stuffed garden roll ($5.25) satisfy appetites for sushi-bar favorites, and specialty rolls tempt palates with kitchen creations that include the eel and tuna buckeye roll ($9.95), celebrating the ancient sushi traditions of the Midwest. Delicate six-piece servings of sashimi clothe taste buds in the mouthwatering flavors of snapper ($10.95), salmon ($11.95), or a chef's selection of thin-sliced treats ($25). In addition to dishing out snugly wrapped rolls of sushi and tasty morsels of sashimi, Red Bar plates appetizing two-piece portions of nigiri ($3.95–$5.95), ambrosial nibbles of fish that lazily beckon to diners from a comfy day-bed of rice.