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Kaido's Nico de Soto (left) and Bradley Kilgore
Kaido's Nico de Soto (left) and Bradley Kilgore
Courtesy of Kaido

Brad Kilgore and Nico de Soto's Design District Lounge, Kaido, Opens

Kaido, the cocktail lounge by Bradley Kilgore and Nico de Soto, opens today with a menu that places equal emphasis on its food and drinks.

The 2,200-square-foot cocktail lounge, located in the heart of Miami’s Design District, opens just in time for Art Basel with a menu of Japanese-inspired fare inside a room fashioned in the style of a Tokyo drinking den.

Kilgore, who shot to an upward culinary trajectory with his Wynwood restaurant, Alter, says that with Kaido, he's created a space "where the beverage is as important as the food." To achieve that goal, he partnered with De Soto who owns Mace in New York City's East Village and two bars, Danico and Zebra, in Paris.

"I wanted the environment to be very relaxed and upbeat and I want people to come in a group," Kilgore says. "We never want you to have more than one or two items at the table so there's a constant flow and you can be excited every few minutes."

Floridian fugu
Floridian fugu
Photo by Juan Fernando Ayora / Courtesy of Kaido

There's much to be excited about Kilgore's menu items including a dish he calls Floridian fugu: a lionfish sashimi with yuzu kosho, caviar, basil seeds, crispy tapioca, and ponzu. The chef says that serving locally caught lionfish helps our marine environment. Kilgore says he treats the lionfish as the delicacy it deserves to be. "I first heard about the fish from local great chefs like Allen Susser, and I pair it with high-quality ingredients."

Kilgore will also offer a uni fondue ($36) under the menu's issho-ni ("together" in Japanese) menu. The chef says that the dish is nostalgic and modern. The uni fondue is served with a plentiful array of seafood, vegetables, and scallions for dipping. Adding caviar ($20) or king crab ($25) to the fondue is an option.

Cocktails at Kaido
Cocktails at Kaido
Courtesy of Kaido

The cocktail menu, created by de Soto, is filled with classic cocktails influenced by Asian flavors. Libations include a jasmine gimlet with sencha infused shochu and jasmine cordial and a Sakura Negroni with gin, Italian bitters, sweet vermouth, and sakura. Have a cocktail at the 12-seat bar or discover Ama, a reservation-only hidden bar named after the legendary Japanese women who free-dive for sea urchin and pearls.

The lounge is already booked solid through Art Basel. "I can't believe it. Right now, I'm taken aback by all the support we've gotten," Kilgore says.

Kaido. 151 NE 41 St., #217, Miami; 786-409-5591; kaidomiami.com. Sunday through Thursday 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Ama secret bar is open Friday and Saturday 6 p.m. to midnight by reservation only.

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