The Scoop on Doraku in South Beach

The Scoop on Doraku in South Beach
Photo by Elyse Wanshel

It's hard not to love a martini, especially when it's nine bucks and consists of freshly puréed lychee, Grey Goose, and a twist of watermelon liqueur. Slap on a weekday happy hour (5 to 7 p.m.), when that drink gets discounted to $4, and you've got Doraku -- a casually stylish Buddha/anime-themed Japanese eatery at the Alton Road entrance of Lincoln Road Mall. The menu deserves as much acclaim as the lovely libations.

Food prices are a bit lower than those at most SoBe sushi bars. Dishes are generally more creative and tastier. Especially recommended is ahi poke ($11.50), with ahi tune, red onions, and sea kelp drenched in a beautifully balanced sauce; decadent steamed miso mussels ($10.50); crisp Chilean sea bass garnished with cilantro ($14.95), as well as lobster tempura ($12.95), both lightly battered and near-greaselessly fried; and a coconut shrimp roll ($7.50), a textbook example of how to use tempura flakes with savory subtlety. There's also an unusually large selection of vegetarian items plus an extensive list of boutique sakes.

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