In a desolate lot next to GastroPod in Wynwood, another type of edible experience awaits on wheels. Instead of a shipping container, it's a former FedEx truck that's gone from Hamptons summer ice-cream truck to Miami's first omakase food truck.
If the movie Chef comes to mind, it's kind of like that, except with sushi rather than Cuban sandwiches.
"Miami doesn't really have traditional omakase," says Jake Smith, a Late Night production assistant and writer turned restaurateur. "Naoe is the only other place, and it's $250 a person and a three-hour experience."
Myumi (160 NW 26th St., Miami) is turning that idea on its head, offering eight or 12 courses of traditional sushi at solid price points: $40 for the eight and $60 for the 12. "This is our way of educating the consumer on what omakase and sushi really is, which is just fish over rice dressed in soy."
To do that, Smith has partnered with Kazuo Yoshida of 1 or 8 in Williamsburg. "He's sort of the grandfather of the sushi chef family tree in New York. Every guy who didn't come straight from Japan has worked with him."
But go to Myumi tonight and you won't find Yoshida forming impeccable cylinders of rice. Instead, you might recognize the young Ryo Kato from SushiSamba South Beach. "Kazuo opened the original SushiSamba in New York 18 years ago, and the head chef of South Beach now worked with him back in the day, so he introduced us to Ryo." Originally, the plan was to hire an older and more seasoned sushi chef. "We realized you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Ryo is ambitious and insanely talented, and he wanted to learn the craft beyond SushiSamba."
Which he did, training with Yoshida for six months prior to stepping up to the plate. As for Yoshida, he'll be in town once a month or so (and possibly every other week when season kicks in), at which point an extended, 15-course omakase experience for $100 will be offered. But with only six seats, Myumi is already proving to be the hottest and freshest ticket in town.
"Pretty soon we'll turn the truck vertical and do six on the other side, so a total of 12 with two chefs going back-to-back asymmetrically." Though that sounds pretty awesome, until then be sure to make reservations via firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-915-9819. "We're already booked for the next week." In fact, during the hour and a half it took us to get our omakase on, about eight walkups left with frowns on their faces as they realized their Jiro dreams of sushi (Yoshida's uncle worked with Jiro himself) would not be realized that night.
Speaking of sushi, the fish here changes daily and ranges from local and Pacific waters to Alaska. True to omakase form, guests have no control over the direction of the menu, unless of course they have dietary or religious restrictions. It's the first question Smith asks upon patrons sitting down, followed by "Is there anything from the sea you don't like?" Even if the answer is yes, say no; otherwise, you'll regret it.
Pro tip: Myumi is BYOB, so load your bag with some sake, beer, or whatever else tickles your liver for this extraordinary experience.
To kick it off, Kato served Japanese red snapper, which was an explosion of raw flavor and whet our palates for what would follow.
Soy-marinated bigeye tuna from Ecuador was vibrant and fatty (in a good way).
A natural lover of scallops, I had a bad raw-scallop experience once (in New York nonetheless) that left me somewhat averse to eating the bivalves uncooked. The dish Kato offered, though, shipped directly from Japan, is hands down the best scallop in raw form I've yet to try.
Chopped horse mackerel with ginger, scallions, and sesame on top.
The sea urchin (uni) from Alaska is ineffable. (Ineffable: too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.)
Pompano, a type of mackerel, comes from local waters off Key West.
Seared yellowtail with orange wasabi seed, ponzu, and scallion.
Salmon from Faroe Islands.
Fluke flambéed with plum sake and crumbled egg yolk.
We noshed on two hand rolls — one with tuna, pickled daikon, and scallion, and the other (pictured above) with spicy scallops, tobiko, and scallions.
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Ikura and uni. What more could you possibly want?