All photos by Zachary Fagenson Inside Bonding.
In only a few weeks, Bond Trisransi, the man behind Calle Ocho's Mr. Yum and 2B Asia Bistro, has transformed a South Miami Avenue space sandwiched between Tobacco Road and the River Seafood & Oyster Bar into another of his whimsical, romantic fusion eateries.
This time, Trisransi said he wanted to cater to the younger crowd by offering smaller plates and smaller prices. For the moment, the restaurant is serving a soft-opening menu with a sushi bar and nearly 20 items reminiscent of what you can find in his other restaurants.
He said he plans to bring in a larger menu. But with a kitchen that looked to be at most 15 square feet, it might be challenge.
Nonetheless, Trisransi is still serving the food for which he's become known.
Cuba Ocho Tuna.
Cuba Ocho tuna ($13) came as disks of sushi rice, tuna, and avocado stacked as a squat cylinder with crispy wontons drizzled with a sweet chili sauce.
Bags of Gold.
Trisransi seemed especially proud of the Bags of Gold ($10), which he said are a family recipe. Shrimp, mushrooms, and water chestnuts were wrapped inside a thin wonton and flash-fried to a golden brown. The filling is secured inside the lower part of the "bag" with what appears to be seaweed filament. Long pieces of wrapper are left attached to create a dramatic effect, as though a bow were tied to each bite. Trisransi said these bites are labor-intensive and only so many orders will be available each night.
Thai Lettuce Wraps.
Thai lettuce wraps ($10) offered a squat column of ground chicken in a sweet-and-spicy tamarind plum sauce. The filling is topped with crisp rice noodles and comes with romaine lettuce leave for wrapping.
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Tuna Tataki New Style ($14) kept its promise by leaving out the ponzu sauce -- made by simmering mirin, rice vinegar, dried fish flakes, and seaweed -- that you find in traditional preparations. Ruby-red slices of just-seared tuna were feathered atop a bed of shredded carrots and dressed with spicy mayo, wasabi cream, and dollops of black caviar.
A single, fresh rose sat on each table, and a lengthy pink wall, stamped with opposite-facing capital letter B's gave the restaurant a distinctly romantic touch. As someone dimmed the lights midway through the meal, we were hoping someone would switch on a Barry White song.
The restaurant is finalizing a beer and wine license. Heavy drinkers, don't fret. Sake counts as a wine, and Trisransi said the restaurant will offer several "cocktails" that "won't make you miss the vodka."