Since I discovered Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in the Design District of Miami, each time I visit Miami, I make it a point to have at least one meal there. With our bellies full and our foodie souls satiated we were taking a short stroll to our car when Sakaya Kitchen caught my husband’s eye. My husband is an ardent lover of South East Asian Cuisine. He could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I gave into his desires. Needless to say, he had to walk in and check out the menu. From the clear window, I could see him salivating at the menu written on the wall.
Even though we had a set itinerary planned for our short visit to Miami, impromptu, I managed to squeeze in Sakaya Kitchen for a quick-lunch stop. And I must admit, that I am so glad we did. It is hard enough trying to produce authentic cuisine; to create fusion cuisine, I was intrigued.
Sakaya Kitchen is the brain child of Chef Richard Hales, graduate of the esteemed French Culinary Institute of NYC. Sakaya Kitchen offers a fusion of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese cuisine in a casual cafe style setting.
This time around I let my husband pick out our lunch. He ordered Kimchi Rolls, Pork Buns Stuffed with 8 hr Roasted Pork, “Dae-ji” Galbi Spicy Pork Tenderloin, Angus Beef“Bulgogi”, and Bulgogi Burger at our daughter’s request.
Not being a fan of kimchi, I was rather skeptical about The Kimchi Roll. To my pleasant surprise, the roll was lightly fried and the kimchi was mildly flavored without any pungent after taste, characteristic of kimchi. Chef Hales playful personality shines through in the Kimchi Roll. If this was a preview of what our lunch experience was going to be, I sat drooling, in sheer anticipation for rest of our meal.
Pork Buns Stuffed with 8 hr Roasted Pork were sheer orgasmic. The humble description conceals the intense flavors of these little pockets of delight. The airy light bao filled with melting in your mouth roast pork, al dente pickled vegetables; a balance of spicy and tart was a party in my mouth. I could easily devour a dozen of them and still want more.
The “Dae-ji” Galbi Spicy Pork Tenderloin was the first to arrive at our table. At first bite the coconut rice seemed too sweet on its own but the combination of spicy pork was brilliant, I couldn’t stop craving more. The richness of sweet coconut rice, the adequately spiced pork tenderloin, the generous portion of buttered broccoli; it was a complete meal with all the flavors complimenting each other in full force.
The Angus Beef“Bulgogi” was another bowl licker. The spiciness of the kimchi cut perfectly into the well marinated, moist, and juicy bulgogi. The freshness of the kimchi without the bitter aftertaste made me wonder if Sakaya also made their kimchi.
After eating exotic dishes for the past few meals, my daughter wanted some good old burger. Lol, I don’t blame her. Sakaya Kitchen’s twist on the hamburger was Angus Beef “Bulgogi” Burger. Now if this was a ‘burger’ then I would eat fast food every day. Moist meat bursting with bold flavors of sweet and spicy; any adult would be proud to live out of them.
Sakaya Kitchen is one eatery where uncompromisingly freshly cooked south East Asian cuisine can be enjoyed without pretentious attitude and at a reasonable price. Chef Hales has devoted all his resources to showcasing food as the star of Sakaya Kitchen. And oh, how it shines! A rare phenomena in today’s world.
With Sakaya Kitchen, I didn’t just leave thinking, I just got a meal that good for that price, but rather, OMG!, I just got a meal that good.
Chef Hales launched his food truck Dim Ssäm à gogo where he is taking his Mission “No Frills Just Good F’n Food” to the streets of Miami. He also recently opened a second location in downtown Miami. To find out more about Sakaya Kitchen, visit them at their website or you can follow them via their FB Page and Twitter.