In a recent Short Order post, we couldn't help but notice that Brickell's been pimping sushi lately, but who is the Sushi "O.G" in that neighborhood? The answer is Seiji Ikemizu -- who now just goes by "Ike". He opened Mi-kan in what is now the Chase Building in Brickell in 1996, a time when that neighborhood had more bums than beemers. To this day, Ike still has the best sushi joint in the area. And it just got a little better with his menu revamp.
This "Sushi OG" (Original Gangster) has two things on the brain: fish and rice. The fish and the rice are always stellar here. But before we move on, let's make one small clarification. We are not saying that Mi-kan can compete with posh, uber-luxe restaurants like Zuma or Cafe Sambal. But its quality and value are easy winners. Now, in addition to pristine slices of maguro and gorgeously rich sake, new comers can now enjoy their introductory right of passage to Japanese cuisine the right way.
Ike has redone his menu and now offers a slightly more modern take on this tradiitional fare. Ingredients are more recognizable, flavors are a bit more intense, and there is definitely a combination of new-world and old-world techniques being employed.
New creations with catchy, funky names like "It's a Small World," "Don't Worry be Happy" and "1163 Risotto" appeal to Western palates as kimchee and wasabi mayo merge with unconventional ingredients like portobellos, olive oil, and risotto. Even though the traditional hosomaki are still on stand-by, newly designed sushi rolls broken up into three types now own real estate on the menu - Brown Rice Sushi, Roll Sushi, No Rice Rolls. Now those who are looking for restaurants catering to vegetarian selections, carb-free or just healthier food in general can feel good about eating here. Even the purists out there still have a home here; chirashi, sashimi and even natto will never disappear.
"It's a Small World" ($14) is a new take on the traditional onigiri, aka. stuffed rice ball. Each one is made with brown rice and filled with crab, charbroiled with eel sauce and then topped with fresh tuna, salmon, hamachi and white fish. The caramelized, crunchy, slightly warm rice ball serves as a great contrast to the cool, soft texture of the raw fish and the kimchee sauce and wasabi mayonnaise gave just the right amount of spice to elevate the flavors of all of the ingredients.
"Don't Worry Be Happy" ($12) combines the trifecta of sushi fish -
tuna, salmon and hamachi. It's chopped up and seasoned with soy, sesame oil,
scallions and topped with the yolk of a quail egg. The idea here is to
mix in the egg yolk as one would in a traditional, French steak tartare.
The yolk lends just the right amount of fat and moisture to the mix as
well as adding luscious texture.
risotto? The answer is "Yes." "1163 Risotto" ($11.63)uses brown rice,
portobellos, sake, parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of assorted seafood
and, like magic "Poof!", Japanese risotto. It is a warm
bowl of comforting goodness. Lastly, the "Asian Beauty" ($7) is for
that friend on South Beach or Atkins; we all have one. They wrap crab,
pickled veggies, cucumber and avocado in nori and serve it in a pool of
ginger/ume/yuzu vinaigrette. Lo-fat, hi-protein never
tasted so good. Order the sauce on the side because the nori
can get a bit soggy.
The restaurant has undergone a facelift. We are not going to lie,
it still appears dated and the Pepto-Bismol pink walls are a jarring,
but it is exponentially more appealing than the pre-facelift days.
the "doosh, doosh" of house music in the background is your idea of
dinner, this place is not for you But if you want incredibly fresh fish
and Brickell's "Sushi OG" hand rolling your sushi, then Mi-kan's the
spot. After all, Ike didn't spend years perfecting his rice if quality
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wasn't his main objective.
Mi-kan is located at 80 SW First Avenue on the first floor of the Chase
Building. It opens Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Don't even think about dropping in on Sunday, it is Ike's golf day.