There has been considerable hype surrounding a restaurant that launched in the fall of 2023 at Aventura Mall- Toku Modern Asian at 19575 Biscayne Blvd. Numerous people have urged me to give it a try, but I’ve always been somewhat hesitant about dining establishments within malls, though there are exceptions like Motek that have won me over. Operated by the Poll brothers, who also run a successful Toku in Manhasset New York, it seems poised to become a national chain. Finally deciding to give it a shot, my experience didn’t start smoothly. Directions were misleading, and the lack of an apology upon finally finding the restaurant by the host did not set a positive tone.

Entering the restaurant the striking ultra-modern decor immediately caught my eye- sleek lighting, high ceilings, and lavish interiors adorned with expensive-looking accents. The expansive bar area was impressive, and the dining room, complete with a private dining room option and a spacious covered patio, exuded luxury. The focal point was an enormous Buddha head that had an immersive light show and reflected on the mirrored ceiling. An open kitchen was buzzing and you could see cooked ducks hanging in a glassed partition. However, despite the impeccable design, the food left much to be desired. With an expansive menu spanning various Asian cuisines, it seemed ambitious for any kitchen to master. Unfortunately, our selections fell short, with everything tasting overly salty and reminiscent of generic mall fare.

We opted for the signature Peking duck, which was decently prepared, but did not come with the usual soup or rice course and, the accompanying sliced cucumbers were limp. The wrappers were thick and not delicate. At $65 for a half order and $95 for a full order, I expected a better execution. The cocktails fared better than the food, offering specialty cocktails, mocktails, Asian beer, and sake. They offered top-shelf wines from Ornellaia, Peter Michel, Opus, Pahlmeyer, Far Niente, and Chateauneuf du Pape, to name a few.

Dessert was a disappointment, with the mochi arriving rock hard and lacking in quality.

It is a common trend in the hospitality industry- lavish interiors and expensive PR budgets often overshadow deficiencies in food quality or service. (Dave Grutman restaurants come to mind). While Toku Modern Asian may offer a decent mall dining option, it comes at a hefty price. Our bill for two totaled $270, leaving me questioning if it was worth it when there are undoubtedly better options available at the same price. My advice, might I suggest you skip lunch or dinner and head to the gorgeous bar after an exhausting day of shopping. Perl is just down the street and is a much better option in the neighborhood. And Miami has dozens of restaurants that are a short drive away with a more satisfying meal.

Happy dining,



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