Chef Michael Lewis who was the executive chef at Zuma for seven years and his partner and GM Steven Haigh also formerly of Zuma in London and Miami bring their fabulous concept to Miami. It has only been open a few weeks and it already surpasses so many other places. We have a winner here! This contemporary Asian restaurant is my favourite new opening of 2016. Chef Lewis told me he travelled extensively and lived for a while in Asia. His food is inspired by Korean, Thai and Japanese foods.
The space is very cool looking, industrial chic with raw concrete, local art, beautiful wooden chairs, and metal accents. The bar is on one side of the room and an open kitchen with a grill as its centrepiece on the other side. There is also a small, lovely outdoor space out back.
We only went for lunch but I can’t wait to go back for dinner later next week to try the American Southern barbecue technique of slow cooking, and smoking. We saw the chef select some wood that was piled on the side so he can start smoking some meat – he said takes up to 14 hours.
The cocktail list had clever Asian twists to it. I had the Puppy Love which had belvedere, lychee, watermelon and yuzu. It was sweet and flavourful. My partner in crime had a Wynwood Mule consisting of Ketel One, roasted pineapple, lime and ginger beer. Also a great choice.
Each presentation was artfully prepared and each dish had fresh energizing flavours. We started with a burrata with a standout yuzu marmalade and toasted bread from Zak the Baker. Then we had a crispy soft shelled crab on a bao bun. The grilled octopus with avocado, key lime and hearts of palm was so tender and I think my favourite presentation of octopus this year. I still need to try the roasted cauliflower with goat cheese salad and shisito in an herb vinaigrette. I am told the crunchy kale is also a great starter.
For a main we had the Thai fried rice with egg in a stone pot (reminiscent of Zuma) and we chose ours with king crab. It had an excellent sweet and spicy taste to it. You can also get pork or a vegetarian option. Honestly everything on the menu looked great so I need to return several times.
For dessert we tried three out of the four selections. They were all very good. But the chef’s mother’s coconut layer cake is a must. The s’mores tart and the tropical fruit salad with tapioca was light and refreshing and bursting with flavours.
Considering the place has only been open a few weeks I can’t believe how smoothly everything was working. The food came out quickly and served nice and hot. The staff is well trained. Our server Angie was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. The GM told me that they are operating as green as they can, even their pens are made of recycled materials.
It was a delightful lunch in every way and I can’t wait to return.