Review: Diaspora Korean & Japanese Restaurant
Tucked in between the Shell gas station and the Radio Shack located on High Street near the campus of The Ohio State University is a hidden gem of a restaurant called Diaspora. The exterior is unassuming, and the window-covering menus hide what is actually a very cozy and well-decorated Korean and Japanese restaurant.
Guests have a choice of table seating, or grabbing a stool at the sushi bar for counter service. Round paper lanterns and a symmetrical paint job divide the high ceilings and exposed duct work from the dining environment, giving the restaurant an open feel without being cold or industrial.
The food focus at Diaspora is primarily split between Korean entrees and the Japanese sushi menu. There are many options to choose from, but you can also order a Sapporo or Asahi ($7.50 each for 22oz servings) to sip while you browse through the offerings.
The Diaspora Combo Box ($9.95) is an excellent way to try a wide variety of menu items in small portions. The box comes with a small salad, a four-piece California Roll, two dumplings, one egg roll, your choice of beef bulgogi (pictured), pork bulgogi or pork cutlets and six Korean side dishes that include kimchi and other vegetables. The salad is a basic composition of iceberg lettuce, but has a light and refreshing dressing. The Bulgogi was succulent and well-marinaded, steeped in its own juices. The kimchi was very authentic and not overly spicy. The other items all tasted fine. Nothing else jumped out at me as being overly impressive, but they also didn’t leave me disappointed. For only $10 this was a large meal for one person, and could easily feed two people if you’re not too hungry.
The Baked Salmon Roll ($11.95) is served with cream cheese, yamagobo and avocado inside with baked salmon on top. The salmon was prepared rare and cooked very well. The abundant sauce combined with fresh soft avocado and the delicate salmon made for some tricky eating, but had a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Well, except for the yamagobo, which had the surprising crunchiness of a carrot stick, but a milder and less rooty flavor.
The Crunch Scallop Roll ($10.95) is served with crabmeat, avocado, cucumber and scallop tempura. While the menu at Diaspora is large, and I haven’t tried everything, this roll is my favorite so far. All of the flavors combine perfectly, and the fried scallops have a perfect light batter of tempura rendering them not too heavy to balance with the other ingredients.
There are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu, and the “create your own” vegetarian roll is quite a deal at $3.95 for a one-item roll and $1 extra for each additional item. Pictured is the Avocado Roll, and other options include cucumber, daikon, tofu, yam goba and asparagus.
Overall, Diaspora provides the college crowd with a great venue for both traditional and modern Japanese and Korean dining. Don’t let the campus location prevent you from visiting this restaurant, especially during the summer months when the student population is thinned out. Diaspora is a worthwhile visit for foodies from all corners of the city.
Diaspora is located at 2118 North High Street in the University District, near the corner of Lane and High. There’s plenty of parking located behind the building and a rear entrance too. They’re open Mon-Fri 11am to 10pm, Sat 1pm to 10pm and Sun 1pm to 8pm. Their menu can be found online at www.EatAtDiaspora.com.