If words like "nikkei" and "chifa" don’t readily appear in your daily culinary lexicon, don’t worry — they will soon.
Bringing together predominantly Peruvian fare with heavy Japanese, Chinese, and other pan-Asian influences, Waney’s new restaurant, located at 2000 Collins Ave., will add a whole new layer to Miami’s love affair with Peruvian cuisine and all things umami.
In countries such as Peru and Bolivia, where heavy Asian populations from nations like Japan and China have been adding distinct touches to the region’s cuisine for more than 50 years, nikkei and chifa have remained virtually unknown in the United States. However, as Waney’s ever-expanding global empire continues to steer from traditional restaurant concepts into more niche cuisines, Miami, with its international hodgepodge of residents and tourists, makes for the perfect testing ground for new ideas. And while Brickell is now home to two of the group’s top restaurants, with at least two others slated for the area, Doa will mark Waney’s first expansion into Miami Beach.
For Doa, “we invented the word 'LatAsian,'” Waney says. “We are not Japanese; we are not Chinese – we are strictly nikkei and chifa. The flavors are unique to the Asian-influenced cuisine born in Latin America. We greatly look forward to showcasing this type of food and its unique diversity to the country and the world.”
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The kitchen at Doa will be headed by Carlos Estarita, who most recently ran the culinary program at Coya. Having already participated in the opening of Zuma in 2010, where he learned the ins and outs of top-end Asian cuisine, Estarita, who most recently trained with Peruvian chef James Berckemeyer for the new project, will build upon his Coya training for an entirely new menu. Guests at Doa can expect ceviches, maki rolls, skewers, anticuchos, steamed buns, dim sum, hot pots, and a selection of grilled items from the restaurant's charcoal-fired robata grill.
Doa will also feature a beverage program inspired by Latin and Asian spirits. The cocktail menu was developed in part by James Shearer, global group beverage director for Zuma, Roka, and Oblix. While Peruvian classics such as the pisco sour and the chilcano will play front and center on the menu, signature drinks like the Nikkeispritz, Cuzco 75, Doa lychee martini, and an apple and shiso mojito will give South Beach nightlife a run for its money.
Though no official date has been set, Doa is slated for a November opening. In keeping up with the surroundings, the restaurant will be open seven days a week until 5 a.m.
If all goes as planned, this will be the first of many locations for the new concept. According to Waney himself, “We are highly ambitious and want to open many of these restaurants domestically and internationally. We plan to open Doa next in Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Chicago' and Boston.”