Sunday, June 18 is an extra-special day for dusting off those chopsticks. June 18 is International Sushi Day and let’s state the obvious here: South Florida loves it some sushi.
As with many food staples, the origin of sushi is debated. The concept of preserving raw fish in fermented rice—consensus-wise— dates back to the 3rd century BC in China. By the 8th century, the preservation tactic made its way to Japan where it slowly gained steam.
Arguably its biggest catalyst came in the 1820s thanks to a Japanese man, Hanaya Yohei, who is credited with creating the modern nigiri concept (a small ball of rice topped with raw fish) and opening a sushi stall—that lead to a total influx of sushi stalls—in the town of Edo. Fun fact: America’s first sushi restaurant dates is traced to 1966 with the opening of Kawafuku in Los Angeles.
Here in 2023 and in South Florida, the sushi experience comes in oodles of forms, spanning on-the-fly rolls at grocery stores to expansive bars with chefs slicing and dicing away to intimate omakase affairs tucked in our area’s most sought-after restaurants.
In Miami, fresh sushi takes—at long-time establishments and new spots alike—await. This year, Katsuya at SLS South Beach is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. To celebrate, it has new menu with rare Wagyu cut infused morsels as well as the Yasufuku’s Aburi-Style Miyazaki Nigiri, prepared tableside and topped with 24-karat gold flakes. MILA is also on the sushi map, with an omakase space that now serves—a Miami-first—15-course vegan experience every Tuesday at 6 and 9 p.m. And downtown, at Novikov, in addition to maki, sashimi and crispy rice offerings aplenty, there’s a new Sunday brunch option. Opt for the premium feast with unlimited starters like a Wagyu A5 nigiri torched tableside and foie gras siu mai.
In Broward, regional heavyweight Pubbelly Sushi from celebrated chef José Mendín just opened its fifth location, in Pembroke Pines. The Butter Krab Roll—with kanikama, ponzu and warm clarified butter – remains a must. On 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale, Kubo Asian Street Food and Sushi offers up more than 25 specialty rolls and, pro-tip, make sure to get some of its super-creamy khao soi while you’re at it—it’s the best in town.
And in Palm Beach, Kabuki has sushi lovers covered with three locations, downtown, in PGA Commons and in Wellington. Its stir-fry, curry and noodle lunch specials are in the $10 range and you may easily have leftovers.
So, with all of these sushi options, meshiagare! (That’s Japanese for bon appétit.)
Photo Credit SLS South Beach