Chef Litiatco's kalbi are the result of a secret recipe earned only after a year of "kissing up" to the mother of a Korean classmate. He won't divulge what's in the marinade, but these stellar beef ribs sit in the fridge for 72 hours to soak up all of that saucy goodness. Order a side of soy-soaked potatoes for the Korean equivalent of steak frites.

Other main courses fall under the "rice" category, including pork braised in a banana leaf and Thai red curry with bell peppers, basil, bamboo shoots, and a choice of chicken, beef, shrimp, or crab.

Banchan, which refers to the small plates served with Korean food, is available by the piece, in a trio, or by the "royal dozen." The most famous of these, kimchee, reminds me that refrigerators are the monsters of modernity. Cabbage simply does not taste this good before the fermentation process. Prior to the invention of the ice box, the traditional mix of vegetables and spices was buried in the ground to achieve the end goal (humans are so clever). Here, the kimchee is vacuum-sealed to ensure that the brine soaks through completely, resulting in the quintessential marriage of sweet and sour. Pickled radish, spicy anchovies, and braised tofu also live up to the promise of Korean street fare.

Grilled pork belly
Grilled pork belly

Location Info



4740 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL 33137

Category: Restaurant > Asian Fusion

Region: Midtown/Wynwood/Design District




Lunch Monday through Sunday noon to 3 p.m.; dinner daily 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.; happy hour Monday through Friday 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Hamachi and salted duck egg $14
Ahi tuna poke $14
Grilled pork belly $8
Rock shrimp tempura salad $9
Kalbi $18
Coconut haupia $8

See also: Slide show: "Closer Look: Shokudo."

From a Singapore-style chow fun to classic ramen to japchae — a vegetarian dish that starts with sweet-potato cellophane noodles — all the noodle offerings exhibit the kitchen's resourcefulness with flour and water.

Green-tea-infused soba noodles appear on the menu in both salad and soup form. The latter, unfortunately, is the only redeeming factor in the "cha soba with seared duck breast." Matcha powder is incorporated into the dough, giving the noodles a savory, tea-like resonance, but the squished and skewered slice of duck leaning on the edge of my bowl was tough and overcooked. Even after being submerged in the dashi, the meat remained inedible. The broth itself was a bit bland — garlic chives failing to pump up the flavor of enoki and shiitake mushrooms. A seafood clay pot brought a much heartier and happier broth, replete with an array of shrimp, chunks of fish, pork belly, shiitakes, spinach, and Chinese sausage. The fresh sausage is procured from a local source, but I found it to be unpleasantly sweet when consumed alone.

Desserts also adhere to the everything-Asian philosophy. Ask for the coconut haupia, a Hawaiian pudding that at Shokudo resembles Hostess Sno Balls and arrives shoved into a cappuccino cup. At first I was baffled by its plain whiteness, but lurking under a foamy layer were dense coconut cake and custard that were mild and not overly sweet. The wonderful treat delivered the pure essence of coconut. Green-tea custard evoked the spirit of crème brûlée but was marred by a grainy texture. Other desserts include Japanese mochi, a spring roll of caramelized banana, and halo halo, the kitchen sink of sweets, which incorporates plantains, palm fruit, jackfruit, coconut hearts, sweet bean, rice crisp, agar jelly, and mango ice cream (served on shaved ice with milk).

You'll find that your own "path to food" begins on the northern edge of the Design District and ends in the Far East. Visitors and locals alike are certain to embrace Shokudo as a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

See also: Slide show: "Closer Look: Shokudo."

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Shokudo! Men, I don’t know if I am the only one, but that name sticks in the mind, especially knowing its meanings. Nice pick, I should say. I am thrilled about this new offering after reading the entire article the way I got excited about the introduction of alfresco lakeside dining in Doral by Charlie’s Bistro and Bar.