Brickell City Centre is known for high-end shopping and chi-chi downtown dining, but that's not what the Pubbelly Boys' chef Jose Mendin had in mind when he chose the complex for the next Pubbelly Sushi location.
After a soft opening Friday for friends and family, the new Brickell location officially opens its doors today, bringing to the growing downtown scene what Mendin likes to think of as your friendly neighborhood sushi restaurant, turned up a notch.
According to Mendin, Brickell was the perfect spot to propagate the Pubbelly ethos, which began in Miami Beach in 2011.
"This will be our third Pubbelly Sushi," Mendin says. "It’s the same soul from Miami Beach but a newer, more modern design. We kept the food very similar. We tried to give people the next level of the neighborhood sushi restaurant, but still affordable. I worked for Nobu for a lot of years, and we don’t want to go that high-end. We want to be more affordable, but still modern and cutting-edge."
In the kitchen at the latest Pubbelly is another Nobu alum and one of Mendin's close friends, executive chef Jorge Mijangos.
"Jorge and I opened Nobu Miami back in 2001, and we were very good friends and stayed friends all these years," Mendin says. "When I left Nobu, we stayed in touch. Jorge went to be the chef at Nobu Bahamas and then Nobu Mexico and Nobu L.A. He contacted me that he was going to come back to Miami, so we started talking about how we could bring him back to the company. We’re very excited to have him."
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Pubbelly Sushi fans will find the menu mostly familiar, with standards such as the butter crab roll, with goma soy paper, kanikama, ponzu, and warm clarified butter ($12), and the salmon tartare taquito, with avocado mousse, red pico de gallo, and masago roe ($12), returning to the menu.
But the new spot has also inspired some additions. The Heat roll, an homage to Miami's favorite basketball team, packs spicy tuna, nori tempura flakes, albacore, garlic ponzu, and spicy mayo ($16). There's also the garlic hamachi roll, with hamachi tartare, crispy garlic, cucumber, avocado, and chili oil ($16). If you like your food cooked, there are plenty of options from the grill, as well such as chicken yakitori and grilled octopus.
If all that seafood has you thirsty, try some appropriately themed cocktails. Beverage manager, Will Rivas - who also manages Pubbelly's downtown rooftop bar, Pawn Broker - has reworked the cocktail menu for the new location, adding a few anime-inspired concoctions to complement the sushi. Try the Arsene Lupin III, made with sake, lychee shrub, shiso leaf, and lemon topped with sparkling sake, or the Black Jack, made with Orion beer and a Japanese-influenced michelada mix.
Pubbelly Sushi is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Reservations are taken for parties of eight or more, and take-out is available by ordering online at pubbellysushi.us.