Tira.D.Toss is a slick, 60-seat Japanese-Peruvian spot that opened in 2012 along a tractor-trailer-clogged thoroughfare linked to Miami International Airport. In the entrance, a quartet of white plastic tables and chairs rests on a concrete floor near a sushi bar illuminated by fluorescent lights. But continue along a narrow walkway and you'll discover a sleek, modern dining room with crimson and white walls covered by vibrant llicllas, traditional Peruvian women's shoulder wraps. Pass through a door to find a covered deck overlooking a small lake. A half-dozen tables offer a scenic spot to sample the extensive list of ceviches, tiraditos, and sushi while relaxing to a soundtrack that swings from light salsa to the Notorious B.I.G.
Owners Jonathan Sanchez and Flavio Travano, banking on the development of Doral, a fast-growing suburb filled with office and apartment complexes, lured chef Daniel Vassallo away from his restaurant in Iquitos, Peru. They wanted to create a seafood-centric menu dominated by dishes that marry Japanese and Peruvian techniques and ingredients. The seemingly nonsensical fusion can be traced back to the widespread immigration of Chinese and Japanese workers to Peru throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Sanchez and Travano, partners in a construction machinery rental company, wanted their restaurant to embody the blending of cuisines, which is reflected in the name, an odd spelling for "tiradito" (raw fish in a spicy sauce). "It's where the Peruvian and Japanese cultures meet," Sanchez says. "You have the thin-sliced fish, all of the Peruvian spices -- it was the perfect name for what we wanted to do."
What resulted is a humble gem with a lengthy list of treats that, like the restaurant itself, hides in plain sight.