Bits of bok choy hit a tub of sizzling soybean oil. Their ivory stems become tender; their edges turn a sudden golden hue. The jade leaves of the Chinese cabbage quickly begin to crisp. Pulled out of the deep fryer, the greens still glisten with remnants of luscious fat. The texture is brittle, and the flavor is fresh.
The platter is served at Yakko-San, a Japanese eatery that started as a modest 65-seater on West Dixie Highway in North Miami Beach more than 11 years ago. It always had an extensive menu with more than 100 dishes: soups, grilled meats, tempura, noodles, and sashimi. The unassuming restaurant ran a dinner service from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. and was a favorite hangout among chefs, industry insiders, and locals alike.