I’ve walked by this space for almost two years and was thrilled to see they finally opened this new spot in Miami’s Design District at 156 NE 41st Street just beside the Prada store. Okami is a Nikkei restaurant, using Japanese techniques and Peruvian flavours. Yes, there is another Nikkei spot in the Design District but this one is more upscale and in my opinion serving far superior food. I actually went for dinner during their soft opening and they already had their act together. I went on a Sunday night and unbeknownst to me between 5-9pm they have Sundays with Sinatra. An amazing evening of an impersonator singing Sinatra’s best hits, and he was very talented.
The decor was sophisticated and chic, designed in a grey and black palette with floor-to-ceiling windows, black granite countertops, large slab tiled floors, grey textured wallpapered walls, dark grey leatherette seating, and dim lighting. There are Japanese paintings throughout. The upstairs, where the main dining room is wasn’t open yet, and they are using that space for private parties, but I am told it is an attractive area. There is a bar on the main floor and a partially open kitchen. There are seats on the courtyard patio as well, for those who prefer to dine outside.
The name Okami has two meanings, both “wolf” and “great spirit”. The restaurant was founded by Cuban actor William Levy and his partner Pedro Orihuela. The chef, Hajime Kasuga, grew up in Peru and is of third-generation Japanese descent.
The menu is not large but well-curated, with Nikkei classics like sushi, sashimi, nigiri, fresh seafood, and unique rolls. There are ceviches, tiraditos, salads, wagyu short ribs, and black cod among other selections.
I was impressed with the attractive presentations and contrasting flavours. The octopus tiradito was extremely tender and was topped with a Peruvian olive sauce, cilantro oil, and some crunchy bits. The classic ceviche is served tableside, and they poured tiger’s milk over the catch of the day (corvina) and served it with large Peruvian corn, sweet potato, and red onion. The sauce could have had a little more zing for me, but otherwise was nicely done. The salmon tartare on crispy rice with yuzu avocado was a winner, as was the shrimp avocado maki roll. The shrimp is panko fried, there was a touch of yuzu cream cheese, with avocado, quinoa furikake, and brushed with a sweet ginger teriyaki sauce. The seafood truffle chaufa, mixed tableside, is a rice dish, with shrimp and tender, but over-salted tiny calamari. It also contained soy-marinated quail eggs, hon shimeji mushrooms, and truffle butter done in a seven-spice sauce.
There are just two choices of dessert, and they ran out of the yuzu key lime pie. But we loved our flourless chocolate cake, wrapped in a banana leaf, with vanilla whipped cream and berry flavored mochi, on a bed of cookie crumbs.
There was an inventive mixology program as well as a nice selection of champagnes and wines. We loved our Kyoto Lychee martini made with a blend of Hanger 1 Vodka and Jumai Ginjo sake, lychee purée, St. Germain elderflower, and flower petal.
Another great spot and option to dine in Miami’s Design District. Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.