Miami diners love to see luxury, trendiness, and exclusivity in their restaurants. Locals can get that golden trio at Blind Tiger, an omakase den that debuted in April, hidden behind Reunion Ktchn Bar (RKB) in Aventura.
Like a speakeasy, the 26-seat room, spare and elegant in design, can be found via a secret passageway inside RKB. Diners must request an invite to make a reservation, which, once received, entitles them to choose between two seatings — a 6 p.m. (13 courses for $120) or a 9 p.m. (13 courses plus special additions for $150). New Times
was invited to try the experience.
Both seatings begin and end identically. First, the sushi chef displays the fish of the evening, then grinds fresh wasabi for you to add to your soy sauce. Thinly sliced ginger is also provided. Then the staff presents you with a salad of cucumber, takuan (pickled radish), kizami (shredded nori), pickled ginger, and a vinaigrette. You close penultimately with a smoky, surprisingly filling miso soup afloat with several different kinds of fish, tofu, shiitake mushrooms, bell peppers, and scallions. The final dish, a flan accented with soy sauce, exhibits a bit of Latin influence to linger on your palate.
In between, dishes are liable to change depending on what’s available. But you can count on a close-up view of the sushi team molding and garnishing various bites of vegetables, fish, and even a slice of A5 wagyu with a tiny dollop of chimichurri. You’ll also see a lot of torching for aburi-style nigiri. That hand-held blowtorch comes out about every third course.
As is the style of omakase, everything is artfully prepared so that the guest need only pause to take a photo of its beauty for their Instagram feed before popping it into the mouth. The meal progresses from delicate to rich, with ingredients displaying opulence all the way through.
This particular evening's offerings included a Kumamoto oyster with passionfruit foam and lemon zest and Japanese uni crowned with black caviar that comes from the golden herring. Lightly seared madai (sea bream) nigiri, touched with a drop of truffle oil and a snowfall of hand-shaved white truffle, was another early treat, as was hamachi (yellowtail) nigiri, brushed with sweet soy and lidded with a miniature cube of seared foie gras.
Cho-toro (medium fatty) bluefin tuna nigiri is garnished with bottarga and edible gold for extra glitter.
Photo courtesy of Blind Tiger
After an interlude of Japanese flounder nigiri sprinkled with chives, salmon tataki brightened with ikura (salmon roe), two pieces of spicy tuna roll, and Ora King salmon nigiri studded with pared young ginger, three bluefin tuna nigiri appeared. Akami (lean) was lent umami with more caviar. Chu-toro (medium fatty) received intensity from bottarga (dried, salted mullet roe), along with some glitter from edible gold. O-toro (very fatty) was minced into a tartare and served in a palate-cleansing pool of citric white ponzu, then frosted with more caviar and additional uni.
Blind Tiger also stocks an excellent selection of Japanese whiskeys, gins, and sakes, as well as wines from around the globe. But you might want to take advantage of the “bottomless bubbles” add-on: endless pours of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne ($55 per person).
Both Blind Tiger and RKB are owned by husband-and-wife team Cesar Olivo and Adriana Perez Benatar and partner Samuel Perez Benatar. Olivo says the small size of the omakase den and invite-only parameters are less about exclusivity and more about keeping control of the situation so the chefs can execute the meal service with precision.
Blind Tiger. 18167 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura; blindtigerexperience.com. Dinner (reservation only) at 6 and 9 p.m. nightly.