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Chef Brian Koo (center)
Chef Brian Koo (center)
Photo by Erick Lopez

Ahi Sushi Offers Omakase in the Heart of Little Havana

Deep in Little Havana, wedged between popular ventanitas and cigar chops, South Korean chef Brian Koo offers an unexpected Japanese omakase experience.

Ahi Sushi, a seven-seat sushi bar open for about eight months, is Koo's venture with the team behind the nearby Lung Yai Thai Tapas. Here, he follows the Japanese tradition that allows the chef to decide what will be served. Koo methodically dishes out precisely timed portions of nigiri in a tasting menu of artfully crafted preparations.

The full dinner experience costs $80 per person and typically includes 12 pieces of sashimi and seven nigiri. Offerings change according to what ingredients are in season and the chef's creativity. "It's all about a memorable balance of flavors," Koo says.

Tradition is observed but informality is also at work in the 400-square-foot space. The atmosphere at Ahi Sushi is cozy and relaxed, and since the eatery does not yet have a liquor license, guests are encouraged to bring their own wine or beer.

Ahi Sushi Offers Omakase in the Heart of Little Havana (2)
Photo by Erick Lopez

The chef's Korean heritage is reflected in the use of sauce and spices. There are also Japanese fusion items on the à la carte menu, like the California roll. Here, it's made with a mix of brown and white rice — the first for nutrients, the other for the starch that holds it all together. "Besides traditional items, we have to incorporate what our customers like to eat and what works best for them," Koo says.

Ahi Sushi's à la carte menu is available for lunch and dinner, featuring starters like tuna yukke with kimchee sauce and sesame oil ($13), a white fish mustard ponzu salad ($13), and salmon avocado salad served with mayo and kimchee sauce ($12). Nigiri and sashimi options include salmon ($6), tuna, hamachi, and daily white fish ($7).

The list of sushi and maki selections features a tuna mango roll with mango salsa, shiso leaf, and cucumber ($19); a red carpet roll with spicy tuna inside and on top ($18); and the salmon California with salmon, avocado, and cucumber ($13). There are also poke bowls with wakame, avocado, pickled eggplant, and a choice of salmon ($15) or tuna ($16).

Experiencing the omakase menu takes about an hour and reservations are required.

Ahi Sushi. 1527 SW Eighth St., Miami; 786-899-0779; ahisushimiami.com. Lunch Wednesday through Saturday noon to 4 p.m.; dinner Tuesday through Sunday 6 p.m. to midnight.

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