, a "fast-casual Asian-inspired organic-conscious restaurant," is now open in midtown Miami. The menu is a mix of Asian comfort and street foods such as Korean style BBQ, fresh noodle boxes, and Filipino egg rolls. The man behind the business is Richard Hales, who not only worked under Jean-Georges Vongerichten, but also attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City, where I was a chef/instructor -- so he's gotta be good.
Seriously though, Hales was the Asian chef at the Mandarin Oriental Miami when it first opened, then became sommelier at Azul. An extensive list of premium sakes will be offered at Sakaya -- which translates to "sake shop" in Japanese.
More photos and info after the flip.
Actually, Richard describes his restaurant better than I can:
Sakaya Kitchen is a new concept I created to bring a high
level of food quality to a counter service concept. We make all our
menu items in house from scratch daily. Nothing processed or frozen.
We are using all natural meat, poultry and seafood, organic dairy and
fresh produce. We cure our meat, pickle vegetables, make our own spice
rubs and marinades, make our own egg rolls and all the sauces daily.
For the pork in our egg rolls we cure a boston butt for 24 hours then
roast it low and slow for 8 hours for example. We are going to great
lengths to make sure the food has many layers of flavor.
The menu includes "classic Asian to Southeast Asian" dishes, some of
"the most popular so far" being Korean-style chicken and baby back ribs
with honey, orange and soy. The menu is compact, but Hale is adding
items day by day. He is getting set to start delivery too, as well as
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introduce a Sunday brunch called "Dim Ssam Sundays" -- which, if
nothing else, is a damn good name.
Sakaya Kitchen is located on Buena Vista Avenue between NE 36th and
NE 34th Street, in the Shops at Midtown Miami; 305-576-8096.