At ZZ’s Club in Miami, Throw Caution to the Wind

From the neon sign that everyone who passes through Miami Beach’s South of Fifth points out to a hidden culinary membership club in the Miami Design District. That’s the leap that Major Food Group made last year by following up the South Beach it-spot Carbone with the enigmatic ZZ’s Club. The discreet venue—packed in season, hushed during the summer—marks the 26th MFG property in the world, and the second in Miami after Carbone.

And like Carbone, ZZ’s Club has its roots in New York’s Greenwich Village; the high-concept temple of reinvented Japanese gastronomy takes its name from ZZ’s Clam Bar, another MFG restaurant and the smallest restaurant in the United States to have earned a Michelin star. (ZZ is the nickname of MFG’s co-owner Jeff Zalaznick; his partners are Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi.) But everything else here is new and daring, from interior designer Ken Falk’s curvy relief work on the walls, which looks like underwater racetracks, to chef Yasu Tanaka’s richly sourced range of cooked and raw dishes.

This is especially true of fish egg connoisseurs. Some of the most insanely flavorful and beautifully presented options are the caviar and avocado appetizer (with chopped bluefin tuna) and a sweet and savory “toast”: trout roe spread on a brioche doused with truffle honey.

You want to make a meal of dumplings? You can do that, too: the Szechuan shrimp wontons, pork gyoza and steamed lobster dumplings are equally toothsome and satisfying. And you can go light, with the restaurant’s signature miso Caesar salad—it sounds uninspiring, but it’s shockingly addictive.

A heartier meal can be built around ZZ’s Club’s Wagyu beef, sourced exclusively from Josh’s Premium Meats in Miami. Even if you’re limiting red meat (who isn’t?), this is the time to break the rule: That’s how melt-in-your-mouth tender Josh’s Wagyu is. The Mishima Reserve skirt steak’s juiciness, with a crispy finish, comes courtesy of the restaurant’s Josper ovens, which are part conventional oven and part charcoal grill. The garlic fried rice is the perfect accompaniment.

To indulge in the roe dishes, the dumplings and some Wagyu shared with a partner is to yearn for a return visit to sample one of the more traditional fish dishes—the steamed Asian bass or the continental Dover sole meunière—and choose from the modest, well-curated menu of rolls (yellowtail scallion, spicy tuna, scallop truffle and surf & turf, among them).

The elevated experience and the anticipation for next time are enough to make you raise a toast with a lychee martini (delicious) and turn you into a member.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.