Bazi, the new restaurant by Macchialina's Michael Pirolo and Jen Chaefsky, opened yesterday at South Beach's Marlin Hotel (1200 Collins Ave.).
The dining room is decorated in warm tones and soft lighting, reminiscent of a scene out of the Sean Penn/Madonna movie Shanghai Surprise (though the acting wasn't great, the sets were stunning). Take a moment to look up at the mezzanine, where an impressive golden dragon overlooks the restaurant.
The menu is meant to be read in a circular motion, with starters, raw items, noodles and rice, and vegetables surrounding the main entrées, known as "your destiny." The dishes, for the most part, are inventive plays on classic items such as udon, dumplings, steamed buns, lobster, and the standout Peking duck for two. Here are the items New Times was invited to try.
Cantonese-style Florida shrimp are served in a ginger, chive, and wine sauce ($20).
Gyoza are crisp on the outside and filled with tender pork belly. Be sure to dip them in the house-made chili oil, which has a soft tingling effect on the lips ($14).
The name Kobra Kai must be a Karate Kid reference. The eggplant dish is made with Korabuta pork and Thai basil ($15).
Chaefsky explains the Bazi rice as a more flavorful way to eat steamed white rice. The seasoned rice is topped with a poached egg. Mix the egg into it and you've got a dish that's lighter than typical fried rice yet made interesting with different flavors and textures ($8).
Pirolo named his lobster "Our Fickle Friend" because it comes with happy butter and angry foam. The lobster meat is chopped and seasoned before being placed back into its shell over a bed of black rice ($40).
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Pirolo tested many iterations of duck preparations and techniques before finalizing his Peking duck. The meal, $96 for two, turns a whole farm-raised duck into a two-course dinner that begins with duck lo mein and progresses to the duck, offered with crisp skin and tender meat. The duck is served with pancakes and pickled melon for an interactive and memorable meal.
Bazi is open for dinner nightly from 6 p.m. to midnight; the bar opens at 5 p.m.