Miami Siam: NaiYaRa spices up dining in Sunset Harbour
Photo Credit: Javier Ramirez
It is time to announce the winner of the ‘Translate the NaiYaRa sign” contest!
To recap: Over the bar at Chef Piyaraat Potha Arreeratn’s ( aka Chef Bee ) new Thai hotspot NaiYaRa is an illuminated sign in distinctive curly-cue Thai lettering. BUT, what does it say? With over 250 entries, many guessed, “Welcome“, or “Happy” or “Eat Thai Food“. And many more had no idea…but a handful translated it correctly ( including Chef Dena Marino of MCKitchen) to say, “Miami Siam” or “Miami Thailand”. So in the spirit of the contest, the FIRST one with the correct answer was @dlopezrecio, who posted her answer on Instagram and is therefore the winning recipient of a $50 gift card to NaiYaRa. And we also learned from our post on IG that the sign was designed by @kraveart!
Hopefully most or all of you who enjoyed this fun diversion from serious world events, have had the pleasure of visiting and dining at NaiYaRa, now approaching its third week of business. The accolades are pouring in, so you better make a reservation before it becomes impossible to get in except at 5 pm ( NaiYaRa is on Open Table link here )
Generally MIAbites prefers to wait a bit to feature a new place. Miami diners are a discerning lot, and we like to give a place a couple months to iron out any issues in the kitchen, the bar, staffing or even physical layout.
But NaiYaRa feels like it has always been here…amazing space and ambiance, plenty of enthusiastic staffing , hostesses who smile , a killer drink menu, and a creative and delicious menu that delivers just the right Thai spice punch.
On a busy Wednesday night, and according to the smiling hostesses EVERY night has been busy, the noise level was loud but just right as every table was full, the bar packed and a crowd was hovering near the door.
The menu is a mix of traditional Thai cuisine of pad Thai noodle and curry dishes, casual more “street food” items like beef jerky and Thai street dumplings, and Japanese sushi rolls and raw bar.
But it is the flavors and attentive preparations that make each and every dish we ordered a stand out.
To start we ordered from the Hot Appetizers/Khong Waang , the Beef Jerky with side of Burmese sticky rice. The crispy thin slices of beef were in a nahm jim jao sauce resulting in both a sweet and spicy flavor. With a side of sweet Burmese sticky rice it made for a filling appetizer. We also ordered the Popcorn Shrimp, shrimp tempura lightly battered and piled high with a simple coating of spicy mayo and sesame seeds.
and the Thai Street Chicken Dumplings were crispy with a dipping sauce of oyster sauce and thai chili.
Other starter options include a creamy Coconut Soup with shrimp, lemongrass, tomatoes, mushrooms and chili and topped with crispy noodles and Waterfall Salad of skirt steak, cubed cucumbers, onions, bell pepper tomatoes and cilantro .
And not to miss, the Crispy Bok Choy tossed with soy, sesame oil and garlic chips.
Entrees/Aahaan Lak included three different curry dishes, Massaman, Red and Green, and all rich in flavor and color. We ordered the Red Curry, which included crispy duck in a coconut milk with red and yellow bell peppers, pineapple and jasmine rice. This is a crowd pleaser and a perfect introduction to someone who has never had authentic Thai cuisine. Other options included Vietnamese Prawns in 5 spice with onions and chives and Beef Massaman Curry and Sea bass in Green Curry.
Noodles & Rice/Sen Lek, Sen Ya & Khao are perhaps the most recognizable of Thai dishes, and NaiYaRa did not disappoint in this category . Traditional Pad Thai was chock full of chicken , bean sprouts and rice noodle. But my favorite was Pad See-Eew, stir fry shrimp, bok choy, garlic, sweet soy with flat chow fun noodles. Again, this is a perfect dish for the Thai food newbie.
Chef Bee, who trained at Nobu and prides himself on his sushi assortment at Oishi Thai, is also a master sushi and raw bar chef, and we thoroughly enjoyed the Salmon Demon Slayer, thinly sliced salmon lightly poached in a mixture of sweet miso, jalapeno shallots and sake and the signature NaiYaRa Roll of salmon belly, cucumber, avocado, scallion, truffle oil with salmon belly “bruleed” on top.
We barely had room for dessert but were convinced by our competent server, Benoit, to order the layered and refreshing Thai Pot. A sort of banana pudding, layered with ice cream and topped with papaya gratinee, it hit the spot and was a fitting finish to what felt like a trip across the world to South East Asia. Thai Donuts are another dessert option. Sticky and Sweet they offer a nice counter-balance to the spices of the main dishes, and again are a fitting end to the evening.
Chef Bee, constantly smiling and stylish in his denim apron, circulated the entire evening greeting old friends, loyal patrons of Oishi Thai and new customers.
NaiYaRa is a welcome addition to Miami, Miami Beach and Sunset Harbour which is fast becoming the new spot for hip dining ( and with plenty of parking ).
And if you want to know more about Chef Bee be sure to read MIAbites feature last year on link here http://www.miabites.com/home/2014/10/20/miami-food-blog-chef-bee-and-oishi-thai-pad-thai-noodles-prawns/
1854 Bay Rd.
Miami Beach FL