Central Ohio's latest Asian restaurant is hundreds of yards from the main vehicular entrance at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing, less than a half-mile from I-270 and a stone's throw from several hotels, not to mention thousands of professionals in the area.
Still, the restaurant is having a hard time getting noticed, owner Benson Yu said.
Open just two weeks and tucked inside a relatively new shopping center off Blazer Memorial Parkway, Ronin takes over the space previously occupied by Fuji Express, a Japanese steakhouse.
So Yu has taken to the streets with a rudimentary marketing plan: handing out menus to anyone in the vicinity.
"It will catch on, day by day people know, like it. Right now, people don't know we're here or our kind of food," he said.
Even in a time when there seems to be no lack of appetite for sushi, Yu said he has something interesting to offer.
For starters, Ronin offers 40 signature maki rolls, all designed by Yu, who has spent the last dozen years working in a variety of Asian restaurants, even owning one himself. There's the lollipop roll: yellowtail, salmon, crab and avocado wrapped in thin cucumber. Or the cosmopolitan roll: shrimp tempura, cucumber and avocado topped with salmon, hirame, lemon, lime, green onions and ponzu.
And he's not afraid to spice it up, as evidenced by the fresh salmon carpaccio drizzled with jalapeno mayonnaise; the tropical fried rice, tossed with a spicy curry; and the veggie tempura roll, garnished with sriracha.
In what has become common with the recent slate of sushi restaurants, the menu offers more than just Japanese cuisine. Ronin also offers Thai and a number of Chinese-style stir-fried dishes. Most lunch entrees cost between $7.25 and $9 and dinner entrees between $9 and $13.
Ronin, which means "maverick Samurai" in Japanese, occupies 1,800 square feet of space at 6100 Parkcenter Circle. The place seats 70. The restaurant has a full liquor license.
Ronin is open for lunch and dinner hours daily. For more information, call (614) 389-5866.
Ram Nugooru figures patrons are tired of sifting through exhaustive menus.
So, the way he sees it, he's put the most popular and best Indian dishes on the menu at his new restaurant, Dakshin Indian Bistro.
That's not to say there isn't variety at Dakshin, just not page after laminated page of offerings, he said.
The menu covers much territory, but concentrates primarily on south Indian fare - for example, the dosa, a crispy crepe made of lentil and rice flour. The house specialty is biryani, the fragrant rice dishes that come in five different styles. They represent 30 percent of all sales at Dakshin, said Nugooru, who also owns Spice House in the Hilliard area.
The menu also offers four tandoori dishes, 18 assorted meat, fish and vegetarian entrees, and a full complement of starters and bread.
Dakshin takes over the former Inchin's Bamboo Garden site at 6642 Sawmill Road.
Nugooru sees a difference between his and other Indian restaurants in town.
Whenever possible, dishes are made to order and spice compounds are ground in-house. And there's no lunch buffet.
"I would not be able to give my quality of food with a buffet," he said.
Some atypical Indian dishes can be found at Dakshin, such as the mango salmon at dinner and the masala egg omelet on the lunch menu.
All four desserts are homemade, including the passion fruit souffl and mango cheesecake, the two top-sellers.
Dakshin is open for lunch and dinner hours daily. For more information, call (614) 389-2670.