Kettering’s Sky Asian Cuisine

By Paula Johnson

Photo: Sushi Sashimi Platter at Sky Asian in Kettering; photo: Paula Johnson
Sky Asian is the newest kid on the pan Asian restaurant block. Pan Asian means “we cover all the bases to appeal to the largest number of diners.” There are Thai restaurants and Korean places that offer sushi and other Japanese-style cuisine, and there are Chinese places in that mix, too. Sky Asian’s menu mostly focuses on a range of Japanese dishes from rolls, sushi, teriyaki, tempura, noodles, and hibachi dinners, adding in a few Chinese and southeast Asian inspired appetizers and entrées. Is this marriage of cuisines lumped under the “pan” umbrella a good thing? That depends.

A Japanese friend is infuriated by this trend, stating she finds it a little insulting, and that places with cross cultural cuisines are, by definition, inauthentic. Indeed, places that try to do everything often fail. But I will push back on the idea of authenticity as a marker to measure against. Immigrants evolved and adapted dishes according to what was available in their new land—and subsequently, the cuisine changes. Ask anyone who goes to Italy expecting the Italian-American version of spaghetti. So the question for me need not be is it authentic? but does it taste good? And how does this relate to Sky Asian? Read on, dear reader.

No Wining

PIP (Palate In Progress) and I met up to dine there with some DCP friends on a Saturday evening around 6:30 p.m. to find a slight wait, so we retired to the bar. Sky Asian’s space has been many things over the years, and its current incarnation is large and open with high industrial ceilings and pleasant decor. The overall vibe is upscale and tasteful. There’s a sushi bar on one side of the boxy room, with booths lining two of the walls and a bar on the remaining wall. (Due to the sound level, we requested a booth, and were quite comfortable throughout the evening.) Wines by the glass are available, but after sampling the house cab and merlot, I would advise sticking to a cocktail or a glass of prosecco. Since they are obviously attempting to be upscale, I would urge them to add some higher quality by-the-glass options.

We were seated shortly and began with appetizers from the “kitchen appetizer” and the “sushi bar appetizer” lists. The tortilla-wrapped Duck Roll and Rock Shrimp Tempura from the kitchen menu arrived first, both dishes attractively plated and quite good. I particularly enjoyed the large chunks of duck and the spicy sauce that accompanied the nicely fried shrimp.

Sadly, there was quite a wait for the second wave of appetizers from the sushi bar, for which our server apologized, apologizing also for not having the Kumamoto oysters I ordered. She suggested instead a Sliced Scallop Sushi special of the evening ($13). This dish was dramatically presented on a bed of crushed ice with a lovely open scallop shell as the backdrop and for the scallop, which rested on the bottom shell, atop lemon slices in a bright red sauce. Though the most visually appealing, this was my least favorite of what we sampled, with the sweet, tangy sauce overpowering the scallop slices.

Next we tried two more from the sushi bar: Yellowtail with Jalapeño and Truffle White Tuna ($11). Both were presented on a long whittle platter in a pool of the same tangy yuzu citrus sauce. Both of the fish slices were buttery and soft in texture. One of these dishes was quite pleasing and perfectly acceptable. The other completely ticked me off.

Truffle Kerfluffle

Apparently, Sky Asian doesn’t give much credit to the Dayton dining public. The menu description of the Truffle White Tuna stated, “yuzu citrus and shaved truffle.” At a price point of $11, that is a complete impossibility, which is why I ordered it. I’ve had dishes featuring shaved truffle with a typical upcharge of $30-plus. Even though the cost of truffles has decreased by about 30 percent due to recent favorable weather conditions, an ounce of truffle is still going to run you about $230. So, did I expect a thick blanket of shaved truffle snow to be heaped on my tuna? Of course not. What I expect is for Sky Asian to not mislead the public by stating the dish includes shaved truffle. When I questioned the server as to where the shaved truffle was, she retreated to ask the chef. She returned stating, “It’s on there.” I neglected to bring my magnifying glass, so I guess I will never know.

While that left a truffle-less taste in my mouth, I moved on, hopefully to better things, and found them when the entrées arrived. We four decided to try a sampling of Sky Asian’s range of dishes, each ordering something distinctly different. My Japanese friend chose the Shrimp Soba Noodle Soup ($13), and here’s where the authenticity debate ensued. “It’s really more like ramen. The noodles are not like the soba noodles you find in Japan,” she said. True, but I found the broth savory and tasty, amply studded with nice sized shrimp, and the thin noodles satisfactory. My dish, Hibachi Steak ($20), is another one of those typically Americanized preparations not really found in Japan, but which I love, and Sky Asian did a terrific version. My grilled sesame steak cubes were rich and beefy, along with a confetti of vegetables and fried rice.

Kung Pow!

PIP always goes right for the Sushi Sashimi Platter ($23) and commented that this one was among the best he had tried here in Dayton. I sampled a taste of nice red tuna and had to agree. The final dish we tried is something typically found in American Chinese restaurants, Kung Pao Chicken ($13). This venerable standard has ancient roots in China’s Sichuan province, but like many dishes served here, isn’t exactly the same. No matter. Sky Asian did an excellent job with their version. I particularly liked that the velvety chicken pieces were simply glazed with the flavorful and slightly hot sauce, instead of swimming in a puddle of thick gloppiness, which is most often the case.

My verdict on Sky Asian is that I would recommend it, despite the negatives that detracted from it being the perfect experience. It has the potential to rank high on my pan Asian dining list with a few tweaks—and if they remove shaved truffle from the menu.


Sky Asian is located at 4090 Wilmington Pike in Kettering. For more information, please call 937.949.9883 or visit SkyAsianCuisine.com.


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Paula Johnson
Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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