When he made the trek from his native Korea in 1999, sushi chef Charlie Choi brought with him an energetic demeanor and culinary inventiveness. He relies on more than 20 years of sushi-making experience to craft traditional and modern Asian comestibles for his loyal clientele. Meals top bamboo serving trays inside vibrantly colored, themed rooms: natural light spills in through the skylights of a sunroom capped in overhanging tapestries, and a traditional dining room sports glass mosaics and swirling wood-grain chairs. In the warmer months, diners chill out with scoops of mochi ice cream as winds whispering faint chopstick tutorials flit through the cool, cobalt-blue décor of the patio.
On multiple occasions, Riverside Korean Restaurant has appeared on _Cincinnati Magazine_’s My 10 Picks feature, a list of recommended restaurants selected by guest writers. The writers often recommend the eatery’s time-tested Korean dishes, which include bibimbap and pan-fried dumplings, but the kitchen also fills with aromas that hint at more adventurous fare. Pork belly steams, remaining tender beneath a layer of kimchi and shrimp sauce.
At Kaya Grill & Sushi, diners cook their own Korean barbecue to taste at built-in tabletop grills. Patrons grill their choice of two meats, such as marinated beef short ribs or tender rib eye and sample sides of rice, onions, peppers, and lettuce. The eatery's chefs also whip up classic Korean food and fresh sushi rolls for more conventional dining. A karaoke party room with buffet-style service can accommodate up to 80 people for events such as wedding receptions, birthday parties, or business meetings where quarterly earnings reports are delivered to the tune of "I Will Always Love You."
As San Su BBQ's showy chefs fricassee vegetables, seafood, and meat on inlaid tabletop grills, awed diners fleck each newly barbecued morsel with a mélange of distinctly Korean condiments plucked from small constellations of finger bowls. Sesame and mustard sauces join tart kimchi as they flavor sizzling stone bowls of bibim bap, several styles of noodles, and traditional breaded katsu dishes. Smooth black marble encircles each grill, bolstering dishes served amid wood-paneled screens and lush potted plants whose leaves change color according to the nearest Scoville rating.