BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT - 2004
Readers' Choice: Shibui
When you think in purist terms about top Japanese eateries, the impeccably classic cuisine at Matsuri (in the Redbird Mall) comes to mind; so does the home cooking at Hiro San in North Miami Beach. But aesthetics play a major role in the Japanese dining experience, and on that score nothing tops Nobu. Located in the glamorous Shore Club, everything about the restaurant is an aesthetic pleasure, from overall décor to small touches at each table. Which is not to say that Nobu Matsuhisa's famed specialties don't measure up. They do, even acknowledging that they are highly personal, Peruvian-influenced takes on Japanese cuisine. Burstingly juicy arctic char with crispy spinach will make you swoon. Two tempuras, of sea urchin and rock shrimp (the former accompanied by tangy yuzu dip, the latter by a spicy cream sauce), are as tasty as they are unusual. And while knockoffs of Nobu's succulent, signature black cod with miso can now be found everywhere, Matsuhisa did it first and still does it best.