The chefs at Asia Bay Thai Cuisine & Sushi Bar wrap crab, avocado, and masago inside paper-thin slivers of cucumber to create Naruto maki, just one of many offerings from the eatery's sushi bar. Along with Japanese sushi and sashimi, the menu spans other parts of Asia with red curry lobster, pad thai noodles, and mango and kani salad, which is sure to inspire the level of health necessary to run a marathon in scuba flippers.
Determined to bring authentic Japanese food to South Florida, Chef Koji Ando of Osaka Japan opened Asaka Japanese Restaurant in Aventura in 1994. For 20 years, he’s delighted diners with both his delicious offerings and beautifully-arranged dishes. There are the expected soups, salads, sushi, tempura and sashimi that litter the menu, but a trip to Asaka Japanese Restaurant also means Nabemono Hot Pots, perfect for a party of two or more, where the food, be it beef, crab or fish, is cooked on the table. Sushi rolls range from pedestrian to outlandish, with an O.J. Roll that involves cooked salmon, avocado and spicy spinach; a Chicken Katsu Roll that marries breaded chicken with lettuce and mayo; and the Ogi Roll, which carries tuna, salmon, scallions, avocado and spicy mayo.
Kone specializes in sushi hand rolls known in Japan as temaki—te, which means hand, and maki, which means roll. These tiny wonders rely on a strong Brazilian influence, and contrary to traditional sushi principles and intense protesting from old-school fishermen, they are crafted in a cone shape. Though Kone has more than 60 temaki recipes in salmon and tuna, patrons can modify rolls or create their own to specifications for pairing with a wide array of appetizers, salads, sashimi, and traditional-style house rolls.
Located in South Beach less than 1,000 feet from the Atlantic Ocean, Kone's modern dining room harbors a black-and-white color scheme, with glints of red in chairs and wall segments. In a separate lounge area, diners can also sip on Sakerinha, the sake version of Brazil's most popular liquor drink, or dish on a brazilian waffle treat called brigadeiro, made per tradition with chocolate and fresh fruit.
Founded by 2011 and 2010 James Beard Best Restaurateur semifinalist Myles Chefetz, Shoji Sushi impresses epicurean palates with maki the Miami New Times calls "cutting edge." The menu's 27 rolls carefully balance flavors and textures, from jalapeño peppers' spice to deep-fried oysters' crunch, and cooked entrees range from crisp tempura to Maine lobster that's grilled or steamed, served within the mocha-hued interior of clean lines and dark woods.
Beneath the colorful toques on their heads, hibachi chefs flip and sauté meat and vegetables on their tabletop grills, smiling as they conjure the occasional bursts of flame during lively cooking routines. That’s just one scene at SooWoo Japanese Steakhouse—across the restaurant, sushi chefs slice ribbons of fish and vegetables and roll them into California and spicy tuna rolls. Basketball fans can celebrate the city’s 2012 NBA championship with the specialty Miami Heat roll, which includes slices of shrimp tempura, crab, and cream cheese. SooWoo also whips up Korean dishes, such as bulgogi and pork belly.
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.