I’m usually not a fan of chain restaurants but I decided I would give Uchi Restaurant at 252 NW 25th Street in Wynwood a try. It is part of James Beard Award-winning restaurant group, Hai Hospitality, out of Austin Texas. “Uchi” means “house”, and Uchi has many homes in the US including Austin, Houston, Dallas, and Denver.

The space is very attractive, designed in a neutral palette with a modern aesthetic. There are many natural-toned elements like concrete, metal, warm walnut wood, ropes, terrazzo, and well-placed greenery. There is a large open space plan, a long sushi counter and bar as well as a couple of private dining rooms. The outside terrace is small but can accommodate 4-5 tables. It’s in a busy part of Wynwood, and I wouldn’t recommend eating outside as we did (due to the pandemic) as it was extremely noisy.

There are very few fine sushi establishments that I can think of in Miami, but this Japanese restaurant executes all its dishes well. We were pleasantly surprised and pleased with our entire meal. Although they use fresh, and often seasonal ingredients, the menu is large, making it difficult to navigate. It’s divided into cool and hot tastings, tadaimono, agemono, makimono, sushi and sashimi, toyosu selection, specials, and dessert. There’s the option to chose the ten or six-course omakase tasting, or the six-course vegetarian tasting, but I recommend having your server guide you through the overwhelming menu. Our seasoned, well-trained server, Caesar, provided us excellent suggestions.

We started with the hama chili and a yellowtail served with ponzu, Thai chili, and orange. I thought the dayboat scallops was an outstanding dish, as was the king trumpet mushroom sushi in a burnt butter sauce. The striped jack was also a standout. From the hot tasting, we had a seasonal mushroom dish on top of crispy rice, with an egg yolk and gyutoro that finishes cooking at your table. The warm walu walu was an oak-grilled escolar, with candied citrus and myoga. Softshell crab is not in season now and I usually find it fishy, but not the preparation here. The crab is rolled with a honey crisp apple, nuoc mam, and fried shallots. It comes with a chili dipping sauce and was another winner. From the agemono section we enjoyed the crispy tempura sweet potato that is drizzled with a spiced honey, and comes with a chili beer sauce. The brussels sprouts were also memorable and coated in a sweet chili and lemon sauce. Even dessert, which has about 6 offerings were all very creative and pleasing. The jasmine cream sits on a bed of honey tuile and is topped with pineapple and a cilantro granita. The fried milk may sound strange, but it is actually their number one seller. It has a vanilla custard, salted fudge, and a toasted blondie. It was a flawless harmony of textures and flavours.

We didn’t indulge in the beverage menu but I saw there was a nice selection of cocktails, sake, wine, and beer. There is even a happy hour where drinks and a generous selection of the menu are offered at a significantly reduced price.

If you are looking for a classic, traditional Japanese restaurant than you may be disappointed, otherwise, I think you will be tremendously impressed with the sophisticated decor, the elevated food with a modern twist, and excellent, engaging service from all the staff.

Open seven days a week from 5:30pm to midnight.

Recommended.

Happy dining,
Shanea

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