As a mecca of global influences, Miami is no stranger to “fusion” foods and crossover concepts. But perhaps none is more in demand right now than Nikkei, a style of cuisine that transforms Peruvian ingredients using Japanese techniques.
Whether you’re at a high-brow restaurant like Itamae or a more budget-friendly spot like SuViche, you can count on seafood-heavy Nikkei menus to include ceviche, tiradito and tartare along with a smattering of typical Japanese and Peruvian dishes.
For Efrain Landa, the chef behind the latest opening at Time Out Market Miami, KAE Sushi takes Nikkei a step further, blending techniques from Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei cooking and the bold Latin flavors of Miami to present inventive small plates designed for sharing.
Originally from Venezuela, Chef Landa honed his passion and craft for Japanese cuisine over a decade at the likes of Kamiko Sushi Bar, Sushi Sake Sokai Sushi Bar before opening his own restaurant, KAE Sushi, now a staple in the heart of Coral Gables.
For the restaurant’s new outpost at Time Out Market Miami, the chef has curated a smaller menu of highly addictive, five-piece rolls that feature ultra-fresh fish and ingredients like hickory wood smoke, sweet guava and truffle oil for a truly original bite every time.
“What makes KAE sushi unique is the flavors of every single roll on our menu,” says Chef Landa. “Each one is very different from the other, because of that [Japenese-Miami] fusion and creativity in every ingredient we use.”
The Nikkei influence shines brightly on dishes like the Salmon Tartare, made with finely diced raw salmon, avocado, scallions, cilantro, spicy mayo, ponzu sauce and tobiko; and the Hamachi Tiradito, comprised of raw slices of hamachi, spicy jalapeño, cilantro and red onions. Or spring for the chef-recommended caviar tiradito for a few more bougie bites.
Japanese staples feature across the menu, like edamame and shrimp shumai, along with salads like the Neptuno (seaweed, tuna, salmon, hamachi, crab, scallions, tobiko, avocado, spicy mayo and ponzu) and the crowd-pleasing Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice. Customizable poke bowls (salmon or tuna) get dressed up with the usual toppings, with Peruvian options like aji amarillo, a spicy, tangy and creamy sauce.