Izakaya refers to Japanese pubs or taverns where people casually gather to drink and eat sharable dishes akin to tapas. Slated to launched October 24 and run through summer 2020, this takeover will serve a style of Japanese food that Miami doesn't typically get to experience. "We wanted to showcase a subset of Japanese food that is underrepresented, not just sushi or ramen, which is what usually comes to mind," executive chef Daniel Herget says.
Herget joined the Standard just over a year ago after stints at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar and La Goulue. Previously, he ran a small restaurant group in Nashville, the Otaku Group, where he refined his Japanese cuisine techniques. As a follower of Japan's culture and food, he immediately knew it was the right approach when the team was discussing upcoming renovations at the hotel. "A Japanese concept made a lot of sense to me. I'm enamored with izakaya food. It's more about sharing, hanging out, having a few rounds of drinks, and I think that works really well with our space."
Phase one of the property's improvements will expand the juice-bar café and its menu, ultimately allowing customers direct access from Island Avenue without having to enter through the lobby. Lido will have some minor decor changes, while the lobby bar will be completely redone with a new approach focused on craft cocktails. Phase two will improve the beloved spa. Despite some construction, the backyard and its serene oasis overlooking Biscayne Bay will offer enough reasons to warrant multiple visits this season. The izakaya menu will be available daily for lunch, brunch, and dinner at Lido, as well as at the pool and in-room dining. The menu will be divided into five categories: raw bar, chilled, fried, steamed, and grilled.
Expect the obligatory oysters, uni, and poke from the raw bar, along with an addition of four or five Petrossian caviar options ranging from $70 to $500. A standout from the chilled section — top-grade Kobe beef tartare ($28) — is hand-cut, tossed with Japanese mustard aioli, and served with house-made black sesame wonton crisps and a raw Jidori chicken egg. According to Herget, Jidori is the chicken equivalent of Kobe beef.
The fried portion of the menu offers traditional items such as octopus takoyaki ($14) and okonomiyaki ($16) — a savory Japanese pancake. "It's not very common in Miami. Just throw some local bacon on there, and you've got the ultimate brunch dish. We'll be flying in mountain yams from Japan to make it as legit as possible," Herget says.
The tebasaki ($18) aren't your standard chicken wings: They result from a three-day process of curing and poaching, drying overnight, and then flash-frying to achieve the skin's crisp, chicharrón-like texture without any breading. Tossed in a red miso glaze, these wings represent the attention to detail Herget wants to show during the residency.
For the grilled section, all the chicken is certified organic and all beef is grass-fed, Herget says. Choose from unagi ($19), Kobe rib-eye ($120), Kobe New York strip ($90), a Kurobuta pork chop ($38), king crab ($50), giant scallops with miso glaze ($36), and maitake mushrooms with sweet soy and crispy garlic ($19).
The food will be accompanied by a new beverage menu, offering an assortment of sake and a machine that makes a precise highball with your choice of Japanese whisky. Also in the works are sake Jell-O shots for a fun element, plus a new cocktail list incorporating Japanese citrus and unexpected twists such as a margarita using an MSG tincture instead of salt, all around $14 each.
Izakaya Residency at the Lido Bayside Grill. 40 Island Ave., Miami Beach; 786-245-0880; standardhotels.com.