I heard about the Japanese Market aka Sushi Deli over a year ago. I never went because they didn’t take reservations and they were only open for lunch. I decided to finally give it a try.

This hidden gem is not easy to find. It is on the 79th Street causeway in a nondescript plaza, at 1412 79th Street. I have actually driven past a few times looking for it. I was determined to find it as it was listed as one of Michelle Bernstein’s top ten picks, and I trust her emphatically.

For anyone from Toronto who remembers a little joint called Stubby’s you will know what I am talking about when I tell you about this quirky, eccentric little place.

Located inside a tiny, dingy Japanese market with Asian goods lining the aisles, let me say, the place is not pretty. There are 4 seats at the counter and 10 more seats nearby.

It is run by Chef Michio Kushi and his family. The chef is not the friendliest. I tried complimenting him but he was not interested. The place has lots of rules and lots of signs posted of what you can’t do in their restaurant. For instance, you may not sit at the seats in the restaurant until they tell you. You can’t use a cell phone. There is no take away food. You can only order once. If you are still hungry or see something that your neighbour orders that looks good, well you are out of luck. They say you can’t bring in outside trash!? Why would you do that? They do not take reservations. They are closed Mondays and Tuesdays and they are only open from 12-4 weekdays and 12-3 on weekends, or if they don’t feel like staying open they close early. You get the picture. You must come early or you will be forced to wait 1-2 hours for a seat. The place could look cleaner and so on…

BUT, the Chef works wonders. He seems to be the only one making the sushi, hence the long waits. He has some of the freshest and best sushi in Miami. His selection is large and it changes daily. The rice is prepared and seasoned properly. The prices are reasonable, my bill came to $50 and I ate like a queen. I was lucky to have a veteran sitting next to me and she helped guide me through the menu. She even went to the markets fridge and took out a bottle of unfiltered sake to share with me. Some of the dishes I had were the Chef’s Omakase which consisted of the Chef’s choice of six high end pieces of sushi. I also tried the tuna tartar, the California paradise roll topped with baked seafood and a ceviche roll. I also had the crunchy shrimp roll with avocado and mango.

The best rolls for me weren’t even on the menu but thanks to my friendly neighbour, she recommended things to me that I should order. Now I can share this information with you …

Try the Love Roll which consists of a spider roll topped with salmon that has been torched-and drizzled with some truffle oil. Another great one was the Barbara Hand Roll of hamachi in a wonderful sauce. I know I had way too much food but I took a lot home. Yes, they will give you a take home container for leftovers. I would like to try the Sashimi Omakase next time I go there. I would also try the Dragon Roll, it looked gooood! The chef gave me a deep fried shrimps head, and since I didn’t want to insult him, I ate it, and it was actually quite good.

For dessert I had some Mochi which was excellent, and only $1.95 for 2 pieces. But of course you can’t combine flavours, it’s against the rules.

There is free parking in the back and you can see from the Porsches, Mercedes and Range Rovers that the crowd is mixed with upscale and regular folk too.

I even bought some Japanese candy on the way out, and you should know there is an excellent selection of Japanese beers and Sakes that you can drink there or take out.

I wish this place was open for dinner but I guess the Chef has too much to handle with the lunch crowd. This place for all its crazy rules won’t disappoint. It really is one of Miami’s best kept secrets.

Highly recommended.

Happy Dining,
Shanea

Japanese Market a/k/a Sushi Deli
1412 79th Street Causeway
North Bay Village, FL 33141
305.861.0143

Sushi Deli hours:
11:30am – 6:30pm Wed-Sat
12:00pm – 5:30pm  Sun

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