First Bites

House of Food Porn Offers "Shushi" in LIttle Haiti

Chef Franco Antonio Blanco preparing "shushi" at House of Food Porn.
Chef Franco Antonio Blanco preparing "shushi" at House of Food Porn. Photo by Matteo Bianchi
If you’re trying to find the eatery House of Food Porn in Little Haiti, look for the black building on the corner of NW 62nd Street and Second Avenue. There's graffiti art all over it, and a sidewall is tagged with the phrase "Shushi. The world in a roll by chef Franco Antonio." That's not a typo. "Shushi" is what chef/owner Franco Antonio Blanco calls his rolls, made with atypical ingredients such as lamb, cheese, and mushrooms.

In the dining room, 14 guests sit beneath a chandelier at a U-shaped communal table, made by the chef using recycled wood. His craftsmanship extends to the restaurant's "amicasa" rotating menu — his version of omakase, infused with Cuban verve.

"This is not a sushi and sashimi concept. We've built a unique foodie experience," Blanco says. "Little Haiti is the next up-and-coming neighborhood, and our offerings have an exciting look and are all about the flavor. Guests don't know for sure what they are eating until afterward."

Blanco says he fell in love with sushi at a young age and learned how to make his own so he didn't have to deal with hefty price tags. His traditional Cuban parents refused to eat the raw seafood, so he rolled up their favorite meal of black beans, rice, pork, sweet plantains, avocado, yuca, and mojo. His Spanish-speaking mother called it “shushi,” and a business idea was born. Blanco started his shushi-catering venture in 2012 while working as a supplier in the wine and spirits industry; four years later, his dream for a brick-and-mortar came into being with House of Food Porn.

At the 1,000-square-foot restaurant, a four-course meal costs $73.83 per person, a six-course $99.51, and an eight-course $133.75. Blanco's shushi creations are served on wood slabs and have included a roll containing curry-seasoned lamb, dates, cilantro, goat cheese, and smoked tuna, as well a mix of picanha with avocado and plantain that's served with baby arugula and finished with a squirt of jalapeño aioli sauce.

For pescetarians and vegetarians, options might include a combo of yellowtail, smoked crab, and avocado or a veggie offering of portobello mushroom, truffle pâté, truffle paste, and garlic aioli garnished with mico-arugula. Blanco says there are no limits to the twists in his specialties. "This is a playground for me as a chef and for people who love to try new flavors, so it all comes together very naturally."

The restaurant's bar and front of the house are handled by his partner Nicky Engl, who grew up helping her grandmother with a bed and breakfast in the mountains of Austria. She serves mint-infused water, wine, and signature drinks throughout the meal, including the seven-layer cocktail Jamaican Me Crazy, made with pineapple ginger beer, lychee sake, peach bellini, Jamaican coconut rum, Cuban rum, champagne, and a drop of hibiscus.

Besides offering catering, private tastings, and shushi-rolling classes by request, Blanco is working on the launch of a YouTube channel, the World in a Roll, where he will travel to various countries to break down their most popular dishes into "shushi" rolls.

House of Food Porn. 197 NW 62nd St., Miami; 305-788-0137; houseoffoodporn.com. Seatings at 6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Reservations are required.
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Juliana Accioly
Contact: Juliana Accioly