First Bites

Dashi Brings Fine Japanese Dining to Downtown Miami's River Yacht Club

Dashi brings progressive Japanese to the River Yacht Club.
Dashi brings progressive Japanese to the River Yacht Club. Courtesy of Dashi
At Dashi, which opened in late March at the River Yacht Club, executive chef Shuji Hiyakawa brings beautifully plated Japanese fare to Miami's riverfront. The dimly lit restaurant, beckoning patrons exiting megayachts to enter its dining room, specializes in brightly colored slices of fish on beds of warm sticky rice and chopped vegetables, along with authentic udons, soups, and meats.

Run by Hiyakawa, a former executive sushi chef of Kuro at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, Dashi resembles what Hiyakawa envisioned for his solo concept, Wabi Sabi, which was set to open in the MiMo District late last year. But amid construction setbacks, Hiyakawa put his project on hold and joined the River Yacht Club.

"It's very high-end, and the food is more like art," he says. "Getting this opportunity could not have come at a better time."

As a standalone restaurant within the boat marina and lounge, Dashi offers 80 seats, including large communal tables, along with a full bar stocked with Japanese whiskey and an array of sakes. Nearly every spot in the eatery offers waterfront views through floor-to-ceiling windows, which are often open, welcoming sunshine and a warm breeze inside the rustic and industrial-designed space.
click to enlarge Daily oysters served in a cloud of hazy liquid nitrogen - COURTESY OF DASHI
Daily oysters served in a cloud of hazy liquid nitrogen
Courtesy of Dashi
The menu, crafted by Hiyakawa, is divided into multiple à la carte selections, including hot, cold, soups and udons, and sushi and sashimi. Among the cold dishes, the ocean scallops served with Russian osetra caviar and yuzu are not to be missed. Also consider an order of oysters, which come served in a cloud of liquid nitrogen.
click to enlarge Tomato salad - COURTESY OF DASHI
Tomato salad
Courtesy of Dashi
Before the main course, opt for the tomato salad. One of the simplest items on the menu, the plate offers large, juicy heirloom tomatoes in quarter-slices, drizzled with yuzu, wasabi oil, and soy salt.

The restaurant's name is Japanese for "broth," and Hiyakawa also happens to be a noodle expert, gaining years of experience as a child through his father's noodle shop in his hometown of Fukuoka, Japan. At Dashi, try spicy seafood udon packed with clams and shrimp, beef udon with braised short rib, or aka miso soup with clams and scallions.

Sushi and sashimi are served per piece and made with the freshest ingredients available. Much of Dashi's fish, including sea bream and horse mackerel crab, is flown in from Japan. Consider warm, sticky rice beds topped with tuna from the Mediterranean and salmon from New Zealand, along with yellowtail, golden eye snapper, and island jack, which are all sourced from Japan.
click to enlarge Hamachi ponzu - COURTESY OF DASHI
Hamachi ponzu
Courtesy of Dashi
Other noteworthy plates at Dashi are hamachi ponzu, which comes thinly sliced and served with cucumber, cilantro, and shio-kombu (thin sheets of flavored kelp); beef kakuni, served with carrot, onion, and potato; and a rotating plate of "today's tempura," which is always flavored with sweet soy, ginger, and daikon radishes.
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Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor, with her work appearing in print and digital titles worldwide.
Contact: Clarissa Buch