Sushi by Bou Omakase Speakeasy in the Versace Mansion
Winning is always good news. So, when I won the SOBEWFF silent auction item (benefitting Chaplin School of Hospitality at FIU) for dinner for four at Sushi by Bou, I knew I was in for a treat. Sushi by Bou, is the newly opened 14-17 course Omakase experience that has taken residence up in the Gianni Suite at the much-storied former Versace Mansion.
A concept that originated in New York City in midtown, Sushi by Bou, created by Michael Sinensky and Erika London's company Simple Venue and partner sushi chef David Bouhadana, is an upscale 30 or 60-minute Omakase speakeasy experience in quirky locations designed for a quick lunch, or a pre-theatre dinner. Locations in NYC now number three, at the Sanctuary Hotel in Times Square, The Limelight Church in Chelsea, and in a hotel suite in the NoMad Hotel.
The G Suite in the Versace Mansion is the first location outside of NYC, and since this IS Miami, the Omakase is more like 75 minutes from start to finish. The ornate and elegant two room lounge is the perfect setting for the 4-6-person intimate dinner. Upon arrival, you are escorted up the tile stairway to a large wooden door entrance. In the reception area is a corner bar, high top tables, cozy and comfortable couches for lounging and a Mr. Sake vending machine featuring a number of both filtered and unfiltered sakes at $10 per pour.
There are balconies to take in the view of Ocean Drive and a bartender to mix you up some of the specialty craft cocktails which include the Yuzu Honey Bee with Bulliet bourbon, honey syrup, yuzu juice and pink peppercorns, and the Shiso Southsider with Ketel One vodka, shiso leaves, simple syrup and lime juice.
The $125 pp price includes one pre-dinner cocktail and one sake pour to enhance the sushi tastings. Of course, more sake pairing are encouraged for an additional charge.
The private sushi bar is just adjacent to the lounge area and allows for only seating of 4-6 in full view of the sushi chef and his assistant slicing and preparing the delicate, imported daily from Japan fish.
The concept, the chef explained to us, was to be served one piece at a time, building to the most flavorful and exotic piece finale. A generous crystal dish of fresh ginger is presented but no side of soy sauce or wasabi, as the sushi is such fine quality that dipping in soy sauce or adding too much wasabi would change the flavor and balance. Chopsticks are provided, but using your fingers is more authentic.
The experienced sushi chef, took care to create each piece one at a time, forming the rice to the right size and adding the sliced fish on top. He presented them with flourish onto a gold trimmed plate with the Versace logo in center.
We started with a creamy snapper, and moved onto striped jack, flounder, and salmon roe wrapped in seaweed. Our favorite included the golden eye snapper which was lightly seared and the smoked skip jack. A raw scallop was topped with a charcoal sauce, and the king salmon was brushed delicately with a soy mixture. The delicate golden uni appeared wrapped in seaweed.
We were able to enjoy three tunas, from most common to best quality starting with blue fin, moving on to medium fatty tuna and ending with a decadent seared toro with truffle salt. At this point our group was sipping their second or third pour of sake and savoring every minute and just having a wonderful time.
Kobe ribeye was torched and followed by a spicy tuna handroll and smoky eel, with the finale being a sweet almost dessert-like egg custard.
As our Omakase experience came to a close, we saw the next group casually lounging in the next room with their cocktails, yet we never for a moment felt rushed or that there was any timetable. NOTE: Check out the over the top restroom before you leave for a final glimpse into Gianni Versace’s taste.
Sushi by Bou is a uniquely wonderful addition to the Miami dining scene, and a special fun evening out for a group of four or six. And make sure you check out the very Versace-style ornate bathroom!
Seatings begin at 5 pm with last seating at 10 pm, and reservations are mandatory.
Villa Casa Casuarina/ Versace Mansion
1116 Ocean Dr.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305 922 9195