Sharpen up your chopsticks for International Sushi Day on June 18. It took a while for raw fish to catch on in large parts of the U.S., but now diners crave everything from delicate sashimi to jam-packed maki rolls.
Top Sushi Spots in Miami
These are some of the most happening spots for sushi in Miami, so get ready for that sinus-clearing blast of wasabi and check them out.
The "Leave It Up To Us" style of OMAKAI sushi reflects the true heart of omakase, which is the Japanese concept of a chef-curated selection. There are three omakase sets on the lunch and dinner menu that vary in price and size, as well as an a la carte menu for diners who know exactly what they want. The smallest dinner set is very affordable at only $24 and comes with a seasonal appetizer, sashimi, two pieces of sushi fish, one piece of salmon, one tuna, and a blue crab handroll. The nigiri offerings (2 pieces per order) include succulent seafood like Hokkaido scallops, salmon roe, melt-in-your-mouth sea urchin, and freshwater eel. The lobster handroll is luxurious and well worth a trip to Wynwood.
Doraku Izakaya and Sushi
Doraku Izakaya and Sushi in Miami Beach is a happening place at happy hour. From 5-7 p.m., salmon rolls and tuna rolls are only $8. Select drafts and house wines are extra affordable at only six bucks. The dinner menu has several chef's selections in varying sizes or glance at the list of a la carte rolls that has several familiar staples as well as inventive house creations. The "Doraku Roll" is filled with lobster, bell pepper, tomato, microgreens, snow crab and finished with a yuzu soy reduction. It's a hefty roll that packs in the flavor. Vegetarians should go for the "Laughing Buddha" stuffed with avocado, asparagus, spring mix, tomato, and cucumber wrapped in green soy paper with a ginger dressing.
Peruvian and Japanese cuisines collide at Osaka in the heart of the Brickell neighborhood. More than 100 years ago, 7,000 Japanese migrated to Peru, which led to the second-largest Japanese population in South America. The immigrants began cooking traditional Japanese fare but used the local Peruvian ingredients around them, and Nikkei cuisine was born. Try items off the nigiri menu and taste some of the most luxurious parts of the fish, like rich salmon belly with lemon zest and white truffle oil. The tuna nigiri includes seared foie gras, a brush of teriyaki, and flaky Maldon salt. Experience raw fish in a new way with one of three ceviches.
Azabu Miami Beach
Michelin-starred concept Azabu has several different ways to experience a fine meal. Enjoy fresh sushi in the dining room with an open plan kitchen or head to "The Den," an exclusive hidden sushi bar where Tokyo-trained chefs man the counter. The vegetarian roll is crunchy and fresh with cucumber, avocado, asparagus, pickled burdock root, and shiitake mushrooms. Try three different levels of tuna off of the nigiri menu: akami, toro (medium-fatty), o-toro (fatty). Get the full experience by ordering the nigiri 10-piece platter to sample unagi, local sea urchin, scallop, and ikura. Guests can upgrade to Japanese sea urchin for only $5.
Your wallet will be a lot lighter after a fabulous sushi counter meal at internationally-acclaimed Zuma. Start with nirigi like yellowtail, hamachi, or fatty tuna. Then try one of the chef's special sushi, like the wagyu beef sushi with black truffle and daikon. Maki rolls come in either 6 or 8 pieces with inventive filling combinations. The special toro roll will set you back $45 and is made with fatty tuna, Kizami wasabi, crispy ginger, and luxurious osetra caviar. Hand rolls are available upon request. Or simply sit back, relax, and let the chefs do the heavy lifting with either the signature or premium omakase sets. Omakase is only available for the entire table and has a minimum of two people.
Hidden away in the Bal Harbour Shops, Chef Makoto Okuwa's eponymous restaurant is taking Japanese fare into the 21st century. One of Miami's most accomplished chefs, Okuwa specializes in Edomae sushi which is a style of sushi that marinates and preserves the fish for a few days instead of serving it fresh. This style deepens the fish's natural flavor and adds complexity. There are a whopping 26 sushi and sashimi options on the menu, and many aren't offered at other sushi bars in Miami. Savor fatty king yellowtail, saltwater eel, cured mackerel, golden big eye snapper, and amberjack. A stand-out maki roll is the "Soft Shell Crab Tempura Maki" with tobiko, avocado, scallion, and asparagus.