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The Bend Magazine

Taste of Tokyo

02/27/2020 02:00PM ● By Alexis Harborth

By: Alexis Harborth  Photos by: Lillian Reitz

Corpus Christi has a new restaurant, and downtown has a new hotspot. The highly anticipated DOKYO Dauntaun has opened Phase One of its Japanese and Korean fusion restaurant.

The unique local spot is the brainchild of owner and chef Kil Lee, who has a long history with Asian food and restaurants. At DOKYO, he’s bringing patrons’ favorite and classic sushi and Japanese recipes to this new location in a way that’s “bigger and better, with more flavor.”

One of which is the barbeque beef don. “It’s our most popular. The barbeque beef don is a stone bowl coated with sesame oil, with marinated beef, rice, and stir-fry vegetables with a sunny-side egg on top.”

In addition to those scrumptious staples of the menu, Lee is excited to also bring fresh new dishes to the Coastal Bend.

“I added a Korean barbeque section. It has short ribs, long bone ribs, pork belly, side dishes, and more,” Lee lists. 

The variety of flavors is a core concept of DOKYO. That’s because the idea of fusing concepts and flavors is literally in the name itself.

“The meaning of ‘DOKYO’ is fusing different elements together.” Lee explains. “That means many things to me.” He went on to describe how it symbolizes the team, which has come together like a family. It also illustrates the style of food on the menu.

“Even though we do Japanese food here, we also do Korean dishes. We also fuse some altogether, and the result is really good.”

But be sure to save room for dessert, which will feature something that the city has possibly never seen before: Bingsu, which is like shaved ice with a twist, is topped with a heaping variety of fruits and sweets.

“I like doing different things,” Lee says with a grin. The local community is well aware of this by now.

It will all be enjoyed in an atmosphere that’s as fresh as the food itself. The modern and intimate design features gray tones and amber lights, offset by a colorful floor-to-ceiling art piece against the back wall. When asked how he describes the look of the room, Lee immediately responds, “Industrial cement chic.” That’s because the ceiling dome lights and tables are all actually made from cement. 

The dining room, which seats more than 65 people, is just the beginning for DOKYO. Phase Two, which is set to open by this fall, will present an entirely new room of the restaurant. In keeping with the yin and yang of the restaurant’s inspiration, the upcoming side will have a completely different look than its neighbor. It will feature wood and a warmer atmosphere, creating a balance with the industrial look of the first dining room.

From the inside out, DOKYO is no doubt Corpus Christi’s latest Instagram-worthy place. And if a picture is worth 1,000 words, the mural of DOKYO is a novel. An instantly recognizable beacon on Chaparral Street, DOKYO’s colorful, exterior mural depicts blossoming flowers and a little of Tokyo created by local artist, Jeremy Flores.  

From the food to the building to the mural, Corpus Christi has gained a masterpiece with DOKYO. And for Lee, downtown was the only place that made sense for it. “We like it here. It’s a unique part of the city, with its wall murals and the arts district. It’s a cool vibe.”

Open for lunch and dinner, DOKYO is a great spot to find a delicious meal, eyepopping desserts, and a one-of-a-kind local experience.

424 N. Chaparral St., Corpus Christi, TX