Red Ginger Opening Tonight in SoFi: Top Chef Omakase

The folks behind insanely popular hot spots like Radio, Bodega, and Pizza Bar are doing it again, this time with the Asian-inspired Red Ginger, opening tonight just feet away from Radio at 736 First St., Miami Beach.  

To helm the kitchen of Red Ginger, Menin has brought Top Chef Master Herbert Wilson aboard as the executive chef. Wilson's experience includes French, New American, and Caribbean cuisine, working with the late Patrick Clark at age 23, then heading off to toil with Larry Forgione at An American Palace. He left the States to chase France's Michelin-starred eateries, and subsequently ended up working at Le Frères Troisgros. That culinary training led him to a stint as executive chef of the highly acclaimed Le Refuge in New York, as well as Bambou and Bull Run Restaurant before packing his knives for Sin City, where he was executive chef of Sushi Samba Las Vegas before moving to Red Ginger .

Joining him as sous chef is Jesse Erwell, who honed his omakase skills at Makoto. At Red Ginger, the menu is a culmination of a high-end sushi program, binchotan charcoal robata grill, and omakase menu, all brought together by the careful sourcing of ingredients both locally and from Asia. At 136 seats, Red Ginger is by no means a small-scale operation, yet the restaurant feels small and intimate, perhaps because of its ancient design. Meant to resemble a 1,200-year-old Cambodian temple, the 3,300-square-foot space features bamboo marble flooring, hand-carved wood panels with patterns derived from sea fans in the coral reefs of Thailand, natural coral walls, and a glowing onyx bar.

Open for dinner only, Red Ginger boasts an elaborate whiskey menu with high-end and rare cask options from the early '90s, aged vintages, and even a discontinued whisky that's a decade old. There will also be signature cocktails and an ample selection of sake, of course.

As for the comestibles, the family-style menu is quite concise and straightforward. Izakaya items include R.G. fried rice with tiger prawns, Chinese sausage, Japanese mushrooms, and sous vide egg; shishito peppers; hamachi crispy rice; thai coconut soup with tiger prawns, PEI mussels, tapioca pearls, and serrano chili; and bacon and eggs (pork belly, kabocha puree, sous vide egg, and yuzu hollandaise). The robata grill will fire out dishes such as corn on the cob doused in togarashi and parmigiano reggiano; chicken meatballs; cauliflower with shiso butter; short rib with truffle miso and micro chives; and king crab with thai basil and lemon butter. For mains, items like miso sea bass, filet, and seafood curry are exactly what you'd expect from an omakase joint. Sushi and sashimi runs the gamut from toro and urchin to live scallops and cured mackerel. There's also the option to do a chef's sushi and sashimi omakase for $30, $60, or $90. If you're a maki (or roll) person, there're the predictable shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, and salmon varieties. But luckily, nothing with cream cheese graces the menu.

Dessert keeps it simple with the chef's rotating selection of mochi.

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Carla Torres found her inner gourmand voice while writing for Miami New Times in 2012. She has also worked with Travel & Leisure and Ocean Drive and today is involved with a tech startup. She balances passions for wine, sweets, yoga, and kayaking.