After months of delay, Sushi Azabu, a Michelin-starred concept based in New York, is finally ready to open. Inside the Stanton South Beach, the restaurant will debut Friday, January 19, with a hidden sushi counter, a formal dining room, and a snazzy cocktail bar.
The concept's Miami debut was set for October 2017 but was pushed back due to Hurricane Irma, which caused unexpected challenges such as shipment delays and contractor scheduling conflicts, according to Mahmood Abousalem, Plan Do See's Miami Managing Director.
Plan Do See, a global hospitality brand based in Japan, created Azabu in New York, along with a similar concept, Sushi Kanbe, in Kobe, Japan. The group is also behind Lolo's Surf Cantina, a Baja California-inspired restaurant, also located inside the Stanton.
"We plan to expand the Azabu brand nationally and felt that the next logical step after New York would be Miami," Abousalem says. "Our goal is to introduce world-class Japanese cuisine to this market, an experience that Miami has been missing."
In South Beach, Azabu will be led by Tokyo-trained chef Masatsugu "Masa" Kubo. Unlike the New York City flagship, which is limited to a small underground sushi bar, the Miami Beach space will include a large main dining room with 80 seats, wood decor, and an open kitchen so guests can observe the staff in action.
Many of Azabu's plates will be cooked on a robata, a Japanese charcoal grill, and served in an izakaya dining style, where guests order a variety of small, sharable items served when ready versus all at once. The menu will include yakitori, grilled chicken on a skewer; fried rice served tableside on a sizzling toban-yaki (ceramic) plate; sukiyaki, fried meat served with vegetables and sauce; and a variety of udon noodles.
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An official menu has not been released, but a few sneak peeks reveals miyazaki Wagyu tataki served with a truffle ponzu; an American Wagyu porterhouse cooked on a sumibiyaki; ebi tempura udon, a noodle soup with shrimp tempura; king crab with crab miso, lettuce, and rice, all prepared tableside on a sizzling toban plate; and yakitori momo, chicken thigh skewers served with a charred sweet soy. For dessert, expect a jelly-based Japanese raindrop cake served with roasted soy beans and brown-sugar syrup.
Adjacent to the dining room, a secluded sushi den will provide a more intimate experience. The 11-seat bar, accessible only through the kitchen, will offer omakase-style dining featuring local and imported seafood, which will be flown directly from Japan.
The restaurant's cocktail bar, helmed by mixologist Davide Borgia, will be stocked with international whiskeys and sakes, as well as a collection of Miami-based whiskey brands.
Azabu Miami Beach. 161 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 786-276-0520; miami.azabuglobal.com. Opening Friday, January 19. The restaurant will be open daily for dinner from 6 to 11 p.m. and until midnight Friday and Saturday. Final seating for the sushi den will be at 10 p.m. Bar Azabu will be open daily from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.