By David Minsky
By Jen Mangham
By Bill Wisser
By Laine Doss
By Bill Wisser
By Dana De Greff
By Laine Doss
By Zachary Fagenson
Climax your excursion at Sushi Yama, where what the menu terms "exotic special rolls" guarantee eye-opening encouragement for already stuffed stomachs. Every sushi place makes makis (rolls), but most of them deal only with the familiar raw and/or cooked fish and/or veggie classics such as tekka (tuna) or California rolls, plus familiar cross-cultural specialties like the Jewish-Japanese "bagel roll" (smoked salmon and cream cheese rolled in rice). At Sushi Yama there are also original creations imaginative enough to evoke ecstasy -- or possibly to have been inspired by it. For example, there's sushi pizza ($6.50), a concoction based on what's commonly called "dynamite" (fish baked in a mayonnaise-based sauce) and rolled into a majorly messy maki. (It looks more like Mom's tuna casserole than any other pizza we've ever ordered, but it's surprisingly tasty -- and fits in well with the humongous television screen that dominates the otherwise typical blond-wood sushi bar ambiance.) Then there's the volcano roll ($8), sort of a sushi pizza deposited, dripping lavalike, on top of a bagel roll. Or the Mexican roll ($7.50), soft-shell Gulf shrimp rolled with lettuce, tomato, onion, and spicy sauce -- sort of a Japanese taco. And my personal fave, the garden shopper tempura roll ($7.50): "finely chopped all fish mixed," as the menu engagingly puts it, plus roe, asparagus, and mayo -- all tempura-battered and lightly, almost greaselessly, deep-fried. (Trying to make sense of this item's name can be vastly entertaining.)
Creativitywise, Sushi Yama has desserts to match the rest of its menu, and after indulging in maki madness, it is difficult to resist going giddily and totally over the top with fried cheesecake. But resist. The Sushi Yama doughnut ($3), similar to a crunchy Thai or Chinese cruller, is way tastier.
The best dessert of all, however, is a carafe of hot Tokkuri Gekkeikan sake at Sushi Hana ($7.50, and definitely the silky-smoothest of all the traditional rice wines offered at these four restaurants), where our Japanese munchathon began. In South Beach, where the night is always young, the truly sushi-holic can offer a sake toast and simply begin another Sushi Row round.
Sushi Hana 1131 Washington Ave, Miami Beach; 305-532-1100. Dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m, Friday and Saturday till 2:00 a.m.
Maiko 1255 Washington Ave, Miami Beach; 305-531-6369. Lunch Monday through Friday noon to 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Dinner Monday through Thursday and Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday till 2:30 a.m.
Toni's Sushi 1206 Washington Ave, Miami Beach; 305-673-9368. Dinner Sunday through Thursday 6:00 p.m to midnight, Friday and Saturday till 1:00 a.m.
Sushi Yama 1448 Washington Ave, Miami Beach; 305-531-4249. Lunch Monday through Saturday from noon to 3:00 p.m. Dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday till 2:00 a.m.