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Chicken wings

Gaijin Izakaya by Cake

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Though it's unclear why Phuket "Cake" Thongsodchareondee stepped away from his eponymous Wynwood Thai spot, his reemergence nearby in the space that once housed the Gang Miami gave some Miami foodies a sense of relief. Here the young chef has pivoted to Japanese cuisine, which he honed while working at Makoto in the Bal Harbour Shops and now offers in a made-for-drinking setting. Dishes arrive sizzling hot and aggressively flavored. The orbs of takoyaki crack open, revealing a rich batter studded with plenty of meaty octopus bits. The vegetable fritters called kakiage, containing razor-thin pieces of mushroom, yam, and eggplant, are encased in transparent shells without a hint of grease. That same skill works wonders on a tender chicken cutlet that for a donburi ($12) is coated in panko breadcrumbs, crisped, sliced into strips, and rested atop a steaming heap of sweet short-grain rice crowned with an egg and sautéed onions. There is no time of day this dish wouldn’t suit perfectly. The Miami ramen ($26) boasts a thick, creamy miso broth spiked with shrimp fat and enough chili to give it a red hue and plenty of heat. Half of a head-on shrimp and three perfectly cooked mussels poke out of broth filled with wavy ramen noodles that need to be slurped quickly so they don’t go soft. Perky enoki mushrooms, sugary corn, and preserved bamboo shoots add some earthy, sweet heft to each bite. No room for more? Don’t worry. Just order another a beer and it'll happen.