Shuji Hiyakawa, former executive sushi chef of Kuro at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, is behind Miami's newest fine-dining Japanese concept, Dashi. Housed inside the River Yacht Club, the restaurant, which blends art and style with aesthetically designed plates, will open Friday, March 24.
In November 2016, Hiyakawa announced the opening of his first solo concept, Wabi Sabi. The restaurant was set to open in the MiMo District late last year but has since been delayed.
"I've been fighting for months with this issue," he explains. "There isn't enough water pressure to support the restaurant, so I need to change the entire concept. When I was asked about Dashi, I jumped on the project."
Dashi resembles what Hiyakawa envisioned for Wabi Sabi, marrying intimate and traditional Japanese fare with simple ingredients and artistically driven presentations.
"Everything else is very similar," he explains. "It's very high-end, and the food is more like art. Getting this opportunity could not have come at a better time."
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As a standalone restaurant inside the River Yacht Club, Dashi offers 80 seats, including large communal tables, along with a full bar stocked with Japanese whiskey and an array of sakes. Nearly every seat in the eatery offers waterfront views through floor-to-ceiling windows.
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, find ocean scallops served with Russian osetra caviar and yuzu, and hamachi ponzu, which comes thinly sliced and served with cucumber, cilantro, and shio-kombu, which are thin sheets of flavored kelp. Hot dishes ranges from sea bass miso with scallion, fennel, and hoba to beef kakuni, served with carrot, onion, and potato.
A large part of the menu is dedicated to soups and udons; the restaurant's name, Dashi, is Japanese for "broth." 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, find spicy seafood udon stuffed with clams and shrimp, beef udon with braised short rib, and aka miso soup with clams and scallions. Much of Dashi's fish, including sea bream and horse mackerel crab, is flown in from Japan.
401 SW Third Ave., Miami; 786-870-5304; dashirestaurant.com. Open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 6 to 11 p.m. beginning March 24. Reservations are recommended.