iSushi Caf?'s chefs serve up fresh, vibrant rolls of sushi. But first, appetizers such as conch fritters and tuna tataki make for hearty starters, leading into dragon rolls, Cajun rolls, and crispy salmon tempura rolls that incorporate soft and crunchy textures. This sushi spot also features hot items: there's shrimp teri don and chicken teriyaki. Traditional sake is available as well, perfect for making a toast to the sea and all of its delicious offerings.
From the moment you walk in, it's clear that Moonchine Asian Bistro is up to far more than pan-Asian eats. High-backed banquettes, jet-black walls, and soft red lighting all give rise to a clubby vibe; after 9 p.m., Moonchine turns into a full-on lounge with the help of dance DJs, bottle service, and even the occasional poetry performance or high-stakes geography bee. Miami New Times hailed Moonchine as "the gem of the Mimo District," advising guests to "arrive around 6 p.m., have a few rolls, and then head to the music lounge to warm up the dancing shoes."
Indoors and in the huge garden area, bartenders keep spirits high by mixing specialty cocktails and recommending bottles of sake from an extensive list. Which isn't to say that food's an afterthought?indeed, chefs have a lot on their plates, so to speak, juggling Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, and Korean culinary traditions. House-made kimchi mingles with creative sushi rolls, classic Thai and Indochinese dishes anchor one large corner of the menu, and there's even an almost-traditional bistro section: mussels, duck, and a "thai burger," each given light Asian accents of their own.
Tony Chan's Water Club's menu bridges the gustatory gap between China and Japan with a menu that includes both Hong Kong–style Cantonese cuisine and fresh sushi. Earning their food a Zagat rating of "very good to excellent," the chefs accessorize stir-fried orders of chicken, seafood, and vegetables with many different sauces, lending spicy, savory, or tangy flavors to the entrees. At the counter, they carefully arrange orders of nigiri and specialty sushi rolls, which can include premium fillings of shrimp tempura, jalapeños, and parmesan cheese.
The spacious dining room tempts diners with two distinct views: floor-to-ceiling windows gaze directly out onto the waterfront, while a similar wall of windows enables diners to peer into the kitchen. Behind the glass, watched chefs stay calm as they wok-fry entrees and hand-write inspiring quotations on grains of rice.
The sushi is sea-worthy at Buddha Sushi Bar. During meals, fresh rolls float in wooden boats down a stainless-steel-bottomed "river," inviting diners to pluck off a plate at will. But the paper lanters that line the counter-style tables also illuminate a la carte creations. Signature maki rolls pair fresh fish with surprising ingredients, such as pineapple chili, cilantro, and ponzu truffle. A selection of sake and imported beer keeps diners from distilling their own wine out of soy sauce.
There's a jewel-box quality to Little Lotus Miami. Dark wood shelves set into crimson walls hold carvings of sea creatures, and the small plates that come out the kitchen bear morsels that can be practically byzantine in presentation—two-tone paintings in sauce, tricolored arrangements of roe, delicate nests of avocado and mango. And then there's the location: a stall within the International Jewelry Center. Fittingly, the tiny restaurant earned the Miami New-Times' vote for Best Hidden Gem in 2012 for its "delicious, well-priced Asian fare," co-crafted by chefs Michael Asalie and Inyoman Atmaja.
An earlier New-Times profile outlined each chef's specialties: Atmaja masters the flame in the kitchen, grilling and frying everything from tempura oysters to chicken-skin yakitori, while Asalie, who studied under Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, helms the sushi bar. Elaborate sushi rolls continue the trend of complexity with offerings such as the Big Mac roll, a gargantuan combination of spicy tuna, snow crab, and tobiko, waved over a hamburger for extra savoriness before serving. Most plates are designed to be shared, so parties can sample the bounty of both sides of the kitchen as they trade bites at small white tables or the three stools overlooking the sushi bar.
Cofara Restaurant’s chefs Yoshio Takahashi and Mr. Bom decorate the dining room's all-white interior with vibrantly colorful maki, Thai cuisine, and seafood. As customers glance around the room, they see the chefs’ careful plating presentation atop tables, which may include arrangements of ruby-red roe sparkling atop a sushi roll's yellow sauce or leafy greens contrasting with a whole orange lobster tail. Thai curry and noodle dishes slake cravings for spicy-sweet flavors, and a selection of creative ceviches mixes Asian and local flavors for a unique take on fusion.