Asian restaurant dishing out comfort by the spicy spoonful

When someone tells you they’ve discovered one of the best dishes ever at a local restaurant, the correct response is to perk up and listen.

My friend Dave Seyer shared his discovery. It’s a dish that for him met all the criteria for perfection — texture, flavor, execution, ingredients and price.

That dish is the Spicy Pork Dolsot at Kabuki Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Centerville.

Immediately, I planned a visit to Kabuki to put the dish to the test.

First thing to know: Dolsot means stone pot in Korean.

This spicy pork dish ($15.95) is the best of Korean comfort food — a pork bibimbap, which literally means mixed rice. The term “bibim” means mixing various ingredients, while the “bap” noun refers to rice. In the case of this dish, the rice is topped with a kimchi veggie mixture, spiced with plenty of gochujang (Korean chili paste) and crowned with thinly sliced pork. For an additional dollar, you can add a fried egg. Do not hesitate — get the egg.

Kabuki cooks this dish in a sizzling hot stone pot, which means it comes out screaming, with steam escaping as the bottom smolders the mixture. Part of the beauty of this dish is it arrives so scorching hot that the rice mixture on the bottom will crisp up quickly. Stirring it throughout the meal adds a wonderful texture with a little pop of crunch to each bite.

It is every bit as delicious as billed, and I am thrilled to add it to my repertoire of favorite dishes in town. Be warned, however, you may need some antacids afterward. It says spicy in the title, after all. But it’s a perfect palate burn that doesn’t cancel out all of the flavors.

Other dishes to try

On our visit, we also enjoyed a fantastic kimchi pancake ($8.50) made with kimchi and green onions cooked in a Korean pancake mix. It’s quite large, and we incorporated the leftovers into our breakfast the next morning.

A spicy vegetable soup ($2.50) hit the spot with flavor and price point.

The heart attack appetizer ($6.95) made with deep-fried jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and spicy tuna was a fun take on a staple on most bar menus.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Given everything we are dealing with now, we had to order the Corona Roll ($12.95), which has been on their sushi menu far before the pandemic hit. The lemon-lime roll features a spicy tuna mixture with avocado topped with white tuna and a lime wasabi and lemonade sauce and a small bit of dried lime. It was interesting for sure, but I’m guessing not their best work based on the many pages of rolls we poured over.

The menu is extensive with a full list of appetizers, soups and salads, sushi rolls with more than 45 specialty rolls in addition to regular rolls, spicy rolls, fresh nigiri and sashimi, cooked nigiri and roe.

A large list of Japanese and Korean entrees, including eight featuring soon (soft in Korean) tofu, are tempting, but keep your eye on the prize. The dolsot dishes are where it’s at and the pork is chief among them for flavorful delivery and ultimate satisfaction.

The restaurant itself is modest with no bells or whistles in terms of decor. It’s small and cozy with a handful of booths and one table in the middle of the room. Like all things when it comes to food, it’s not about the decor and design, it’s about the dishes and flavors.

Now that I’ve discovered this dish, I wonder what else I’ve been missing out on. If you have a favorite dish in town, message me details at Share it with me so I can share it with the world. We definitely shouldn’t be keeping these kinds of things to ourselves.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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