Best New Restaurant - 2011
Zuma roared into downtown Miami last year like some flashy Japanese Harley (zuma-zuma!). Everyone looked. First they saw the stunning Tokyo-inspired room, with soaring ceilings and a sleek merging of natural textures — granite, rice paper, Indonesian wood. Then they took in an open sushi counter that dishes market-fresh sashimi, nigiri, and maki. There was an open robata grill turning out pristine cuts of charcoal-licked meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. And how about the open kitchen, orchestrated by chef Bjoern Weissgerber, expertly cooking rice hotpots, rib eye steaks with wafu sauce, spicy lobster miso soup, and scallop tartare with fresh wasabi ponzu? Food was plated in a breathtakingly delicate and artistic fashion, and it tasted almost shockingly delectable. There was a sake bar that served some 60 varieties of the elixir (including the luscious biwa no choju, brewed exclusively for Zuma) and an outdoor terrace overlooking the Miami River. All in all, they saw one of the most exciting new restaurants to pull onto our streets in years. They came, they saw, and they could only sigh in admiration.