Located in the lobby of the beautiful Art Deco Marlin Hotel, Bazi restaurant (CLOSED PERMANENTLY IN MAY 2016) at 1200 Collins, is another new restaurant that opened recently in Miami. The menu is Asian fusion, the brainchild of partners Chef Michael Piroli and Jen Chafsky who are owners of one of my favourite Italian restaurants, Macchialina. Michael also gained critical acclaim when he was at Scarpetta restaurant when it opened in Miami.
This is a beautiful restaurant that holds about 100 people on 2 different levels. The atmosphere is unique, the decor in reds and blacks, with a lovely dragon motif on the wall.
The food is made with care and attention to detail. Every item on the menu looked good and it was hard to choose. The standouts for us were the melt-in-the-mouth Edamame Dumplings. Another good choice was the Emperor’s Chicken Pancake, which was served on a crunchy pancake with spinach in a tasty sauce. We also loved the Steamed Buns with short ribs and pickled cucumber, it was delish.
There were a number of raw fish starters that we did not have a chance to try. If we wouldn’t have dined so late we would have gone for the Peking Duck for 2, served 3 ways. It sells for $96. (Or we would have tried the tasting menu at $70 per person.) Instead for a main course we opted for the whole crispy local Silver Bream done in a sweet soy with pickled green papaya and served in lettuce wraps. It was a little on the dry side and a little too salty for my taste. Perhaps I would try the local Grouper on Papillote next time as an alternative.
A fantastic side were the Enoki Mushrooms in a white soy sauce. They were unbelievable. They also tasted like they were done in a lot of butter which would make anything taste amazing. We also tried the Bazi rice with a poached egg on top. The cocktail list was impressive but we tried a Rose Sake called Sakura Emaki which was light and fruit forward and went great with this type of cuisine.
I would call this a modern Asian restaurant. The chef forays into Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, and Singaporean. It was a progressive interpretation of some classic dishes.