The owners of World Resource Café have re-opened in Buena Vista with an upscale Asian diner emphasizing regional ingredients. The design elements are subtle: polished concrete flooring, white marble tabletops, and a faux-copper ceiling. However, Shokudo's draw isn't the décor. Its allure is diverse, affordable Asian cuisine, which has been missing from midtown and the Design District. Why is it so good? The fish possesses not a trace of darkened oxidation or filmy iridescence. It's not overdressed, masquerading as sushi-quality fish. The high caliber is immediately recognizable. A "dumpling" section offers traditional pork, shrimp, and pot stickers, reinterpreted slightly to reflect a global mentality. Braised beef buns and pulled pork buns will lure you with familiarity, but go for the soft-shell crab buns, topped with a chiffonade of napa cabbage and drizzled with a creamy paste of homemade sriracha rémoulade. Skewers of pork belly seduce on sight, while classic beef negimaki and chicken yakitori are also available in skewer format, all with an impressive scorch along the edges. Chef Armando 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, and other main courses range from pork braised in a banana leaf to a Thai red curry with bell peppers, basil, bamboo shoots, and a choice of chicken, beef, shrimp, or crab. 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. The wine and sake list is varied and covers a good range of price points, and when the weather is hospitable, snag a table in the pretty garden area out back.


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