Not all Miamians are in on the secret that is Sushi Deli at Japanese Market in North Bay Village, but those who do know about this hidden gem are loyal customers.
Some say that Japanese Market makes the best sushi in town. Insiders also know it's best to order off the menu. "Just ask the chef what he recommends," says longtime customer Kari Steinberg. "Or ask the chef to make you something special," she adds, a knowing smile teasing her lips.
What these insiders may not know, is that Japanese Market will be shutting its doors sometime in the future. Its departure is inevitable. What isn't sure yet, is when.
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"We don't want more customers," says the woman who identifies herself as an owner but refuses to give her name. "We have too much. Don't want more business. Open long time. We tired. We close."
From speaking with her we glean that she owns the restaurant with her husband and that they want to retire and enjoy the fruits of their labor. She is adamant about not knowing when this will be, but that she and her husband desperately need it. Her frantic pleas communicate that perhaps she's been wanting to close the family business for a long time, but has delayed her desired future of leisure due to heavy demand.
The fact that Japanese Market has such loyal admirers is hard to believe when you step inside the unassuming store. After eyeing aisle upon aisle of misu paste, dried seaweed, and candy wrappers, it is easy to jump to the assumption that this is just a Japanese market. But there in the northeast corner of the store is where the magic happens. A small counter that seats a handful of patrons. Three small tables. A sushi master.
This nirvana residing in the corner of the store is why locals tout their loyalty. Aside from the infamous sushi, the menu also offers soup, curry, teriyaki, and bento boxes. Although these other items are tasty and almost shockingly inexpensive, the true majesty of the Japanese Market is experienced only through its sushi rolls.
While everyone in the 305 may not be aware of this small, mom-and-pop joint, those who do will mourn heavily upon its passing.
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