Wabi Sabi by Chef Shuji Hiyakawa: Simple and Elegant Sushi
Where to find fresh sushi is a popular conversation among Miamians. While a number of places offer sushi on their menu, it is not the main focus and many times the sushi is “tricked out” with sauces and decorative items that may diminish the raw fish.
Not so, at Wabi Sabi by Shuji in Upper Biscayne/ MiMo area on NE 79th St.
Wabi Sabi is based on the Japanese philosophy of imperfections in beauty and elegance in simplicity.
Chef Shuji Hiyakawa and partner restaurateur and art dealer, Alvaro Perez, have chosen a casual storefront with recycled wood and reused sustainable materials and a long blonde wood sushi bar where twice a night they host 15 course intimate Omakase dinners for six diners only.
Over 600 handmade origami cranes decorate the white stucco wall, each one painstakingly made by Shuji’s family in Japan.
Chef Shuji has been in Florida for a number of years. After working with Iron Chef Morimoto in Los Angeles, he joined the team at Kuro at The Hard Rock and then opened Dashi, which closed after Hurricane Irma damaged the riverfront property.
He recently opened a Wabi Sabi outpost in Time Out Market on Miami Beach.
But, Chef Shuji is especially excited to be able to present the highest quality sushi in a small, intimate setting instead of the large venues where he has worked in the past.
Executive sushi chef, Masayuki Komatsu is the sushi master at Wabi Sabi and his deft hand at slicing and presenting the daily fish flown in from Japan is a special experience. He is the sushi chef for the twice nightly Omakase dinners.
Both chefs are quiet and quite humble, preferring to let “the food speak for itself”, and it does in an understated and incredibly delicious way.
Open for lunch Tuesday to Saturdays at 12 Noon, I stopped in to visit with both Shuji and Alvaro and were treated to a couple of favorite lunch items.
The Wabi Sabi Chirashi Bowl featured fresh tuna and salmon, edamame, cucumber, Japanese mushroom, salmon roe and seaweed over soba noodles. I requested a half portion which was very fresh and a healthy lunch for eat in or take out.
The sushi platter highlighted the quality of the fish, with blue fin tuna, amber jack, king salmon and a golden eye snapper gently seared. Each was delicate with soy sauce only as an option.
A Hamachi handroll was a favorite, stuffed with hamachi, sushi rice, cucumber and wrapped in a crunchy paper thin slice of imported nori.
Sake and Beer are available, and you can bring your own wine for a corkage fee.
But Shuji and Alvaro are not content with just the two Wabi Sabi locations, as they are in the midst of planning their more formal Japanese restaurant, Hiyakawa in Wynwood at 2700 N Miami Ave. on schedule for a November opening.
851 NE 79th St.
Miami, FL 33138
305 890 7228