Sushi Leno’s chefs merge Japanese and Chilean dishes to satisfy cravings for empanadas and sashimi in one stop. After visitors enter the 75-seat restaurant and take a peek behind the sushi bar, the diverse menu diverts their attention to pasta dishes and Chilean-inspired sandwiches such as the chacarero, with steak, steamed green beans, and an avocado spread. With dishes that cater to a wide range of tastes, Sushi Leno can whip up a memorable meal after a long day of disposing grass clippings down a neighbor’s chimney.
At Siam Oishi, Bangkok native Poompaka "Pio" Komolvasri plates sushi, japanese noodles, and traditional Thai cuisine using skills she honed at Le Cordon Bleu in Miami. Handmade dishes imported from Thailand enhance her already artful presentation of sushi, which range from hand rolls to larger 10-piece maki.
The rice rollers of Sushi Central Lounge combine a menu of classic sushi recipes with Latin-inspired flavors in a third-floor lounge. Dip into an umami bath of miso soup, or leaf through the refreshing flavors of tomato, pear, and scallions in the ginger salad, each accompanied by a glass of wine or sake. Dining duos then pick two rolls from the pantheon of raw and cooked sushi, such as the tropical bahamas roll, a disk of tuna and scallion with dragon fruit and a caviar spread, or the Volcano roll, a california roll that demands a sacrifice of baked crab to quell its fiery wrath.
Miyagi Sushi Bar & Grill's menu brims with Asian-inspired eats and fresh fish rolled into succulent sushi. The chopstick-ready morsels range from the salmon skin hand roll ($3.75) to the elaborate Miyagi roll, in which spicy tuna, black tobiko, shrimp tempura, cucumber, and cream cheese huddle together beneath a delectable drizzle of tempura flakes, eel, and avocado ($15.95). Visitors craving cooked comestibles can dive into stir-fries, salads, or prepped dishes such as the Tsunami teriyaki with flaky red snapper stuffed with shrimp, crab, fish eggs, and scallions ($16.95). Reward taste buds for not playing with their Nintendos during dinner with an ice-cream-covered gourmet cheesecake tempura ($6.45), or feast eyes on the restaurant’s modish décor, full of clean lines and crimson walls.
Contemporary Japanese Food | Izakaya-Style Dining | Sushi Counter | Specially Brewed Sake | 350+ Wines
Where to Sit: Grab a spot at the counter to watch master chefs practice the complex arts of rolling sushi and searing meat over the open flame of the robata grill. Alternatively, diners who arrive via boat (the restaurant is one of the few in the area with boat access and a bayside entrance) can enjoy river views while keeping an eye on their vessel from Zuma's terrace.
Inside Tip: The Miami New Times urges diners not to overlook the spicy beef tenderloin, which it ranked as one of the best dishes of 2012. It calls the dish "so tender that you question the validity of beef tasting this sublime."
Izakaya: a Japanese style of dining where dishes are brought to the table in a consistent, casual fashion designed to encourage sharing.
Shōchū: an alcohol native to Japan; depending on the region where it's made, it can be distilled from everything from sweet potatoes to barley to brown sugar. This gives each variety a distinct flavor, much like scotch.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Treat yourself to some last-minute primping at Exhale spa, which, like Zuma, is located in the Epic Hotel.
After: Enjoy an after-dinner cocktail at Avenue D Downtown (8 S. Miami Avenue), a 1920s-themed bar with live jazz music.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This Like Zuma, Naoe (661 Brickell Key Drive) has been named one of the best Japanese restaurants in Miami. It also has an impressive sake selection—the chef comes from a family of sake brewers in Japan, and he imports their blend directly to the restaurant.
Since 1981, this family owned and operated restaurant has been blending traditional Japanese cuisine with fresh new ingredients to create delicious fusion dishes. The customary Japanese décor will transport you to the Land of the Rising Sun and prepare you for a sushi adventure. Sample rolls from the special sushi menu including the Shibui Roll (crabmeat, avocado and cucumber) and the Special Caliente Roll (cooked white fish, avocado, crabmeat, spicy sauce and lettuce), or grab a seat at the sushi bar, and let the chef wow you with wonderful new creations. Complete your meal with a few drinks, as both sake and a selection of beers are available.