Openings

Nikkei on the Way: Balagan Will Soon Bring Culinary Chaos to Wynwood

Balagan, which means "wild chaos" in Hebrew, is also the name of a Nikkei restaurant coming to Wynwood in June 2022.
Balagan, which means "wild chaos" in Hebrew, is also the name of a Nikkei restaurant coming to Wynwood in June 2022. Photo courtesy of Balagan
In keeping with one of Miami’s more prominent trends, not to mention its climate, Balagan will bring high-end, creative Nikkei cuisine to Wynwood this June. Nikkei cuisine, born of the Japanese immigrant diaspora in Peru, combines traditional Japanese flavors, ingredients, and techniques with those found in the South American country.

Balagan is a Hebrew word with Yiddish-Slavic-Persian origins that means "pulsating, wild chaos" — often used to describe the hectic moments of preparation before the sun sets on the Sabbath — out of which rises community and serenity.

At Balagan, restaurateur Ilan Sitt, founder and CEO of Sherpa Consultancy (Wayku, Paperfish, Jattö, and Piegari Ristorante, coming to Miami at the end of 2022), and chef Henry Hané (B Bistro + Bakery and Jattö) aren’t exploring theology, though. Instead, they’re pursuing a serious doctrine of food and drink. The restaurant presents a study of artisanal appetizers, ceviches, and tiraditos.

Appetizers range from a spicy tuna tostada with rocoto aioli to a corvina plantain ceviche with dashi leche, sweet plantain, and plantain chip.

In addition to the artfully plated Nikkei, there will be plenty of sushi — maki, nigiri, and aburi — with micro-herbs and beads of caviar all painstakingly put together with tweezers. You can spy on some of the pre-activity activity on the restaurant's Instagram.

Sitt, who has also debuted some of The World’s Best Fifty Bars, including Presidente in Buenos Aires, Argentina — number 21 in 2021 — promises a robust cocktail program as well. The 100-seat restaurant will highlight sake-based drinks such as the “Rose Cloud” with Rose Clouds sparkling sake, hibiscus, and yuzu; “Ginza Yesper” with shochu, sake, kombu-infused sake-based vermouth, and lemon oil; and “Shiso Exotic” with sake, aloe vera, cucumber, shiso, and yuzu.

“I’m very excited for Balagan’s opening, as it is a cuisine very close to my heart, being a Peruvian-born 305 boy,” Hané, who oversees the menu prepared by executive chef Juan Manuel Alva, says. “We can’t wait to have everyone in and try our take on the nationally recognized Nikkei cuisine.”

And because we’re into culinary chaos — or fusion, as it might be known elsewhere — we have to admit that our anticipation levels are on the high side also.

Balagan. 295 NW 27th St., Miami, 786-391-4394, balagansushi.com. Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Opening June 2022.
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Jen Karetnick is an award-winning dining critic, food-travel writer, and author of the books Ice Cube Tray Recipes, Mango, and The 500 Hidden Secrets of Miami.
Contact: Jen Karetnick