For me, the best part of travelling is experiencing the local food scene. From street vendors to fine dining, I’m always in pursuit of fare that tantalizes my taste buds. And before I head to any destination, I spend countless hours reading through reviews, blog posts and restaurant guides to come up with my coveted list. I also approach local foodies for their recos so I don’t miss the hidden gems (especially the restos that don’t really have an online presence). It’s a time-consuming process, but it almost guarantees memorable dining experiences (my friends and hubby can attest). For my first dinner in Miami, I dined at NoVe Sushi & Bar which came highly recommended by local foodaholic Maria.
NoVe, which stands for North of Venetian (a neighbourhood in Miami), is headed by Master Sushi Chef Hiro Terada. There is a reason this man has over 11 000 subscribers on his YouTube channel: he is a skilled chef who brilliantly fuses traditional Japanese, Latin and American flavours in his creations. So – needless to say – the drive from SoBe (about a $20 cab ride) is worth every penny.
Ivan, the restaurant manager, was kind enough to take us on a culinary journey that spanned the entire the evening. We started off with the Forever Young specialty cocktail ($13). I’m very picky when it comes to cocktails (I usually find them either too sweet, strong or weak), but this one was beautifully balanced! Made with VeeV Acai Spirit, fresh muddled blueberries, lemon, pomegranate juice and thyme, it was a refreshing way to start our meal.
The first plate out of the kitchen was the spicy edemame ($7). By far THE BEST edamame we’ve ever tasted. It was quick-tossed in garlic butter and sprinkled with Japanese seven spice. The beans were fresh, crispy and delish.
Then we moved on to the tuna tataki ($10). A perfectly seared piece of fresh, velvety tuna served with ponzu sauce and salad.
Next up was my hubby’s favourite: coconut shrimp ($12). They were colossal (U15 I believe)! The house sweet sauce really brought out the coconut flavour and the shrimp was nicely coated – no thick, oily batter here!
Yes, we’re still on appetizers and have started to fall into a food coma! We requested half portions of crispy rice spicy tuna ($10) and eel so we didn’t have to be wheeled out. Although we loved the eel and tuna – both delicate and tasty – we found the crispy rice was a bit overwhelming and took away from the dish.
The highlight of the dinner was Chef Terada’s original rolls. If you go to NoVe, don’t even think twice: you MUST try his rolls. This is where the chef’s expertise and originality really shines through. And while I’m not a fan of non-traditional ingredients in my rolls, Chef Terada completely changed my mind.
First up was the Calle Ocho ($13), or what I’d like to call Miami in a roll. A blend of Latin, American and Japanese ingredients, this roll was a meal on its own! The skirt steak was perfectly cooked, the plantains added a nice sweetness and the black beans and avocado really came together in this dish. Oh, and the chimichuri sauce was amazing! I’m so glad Ivan ordered this roll for us, because it isn’t something that would appeal to me straight off the menu. It was fantastic.
The Calle Ocho was so good that we just had to try another specialty roll: the Peking Duck ($25). This dish was enormous: half a duck to be exact! The roll was served with the wing, drumstick and head (optional). The cream cheese and avocado added a nice creaminess that contrasted the crispy duck skin drizzled with hoisen sauce.
The salmon marinated in sweet soy sauce was also a highlight. Roasted on a cedar plank, you really get a taste of cedar with every bite without it being overwhelming. The quality of the fish was superb and again, it was cooked to perfection.
We ended the night with Panqueque with Dulce de Leche Flambe which our waitress prepared at our table. Made with Bacardi 151 (overproof rum – 75.5%), this baby was a small campfire at our table and was a fun and tasty way to end our evening!
Thanks to the lovely staff at NoVe, we had an incredible night filled with great food and service. We can’t wait to go back to Miami and try the rest of the extensive menu. Hope you get a chance to check it out too!
Special thanks to NoVe Sushi & Bar for hosting us for dinner. As always, all reviews and opinions are entirely our own.