The team behind Town Kitchen & Bar has done it again. First it was with the opening of Smoke't in South Miami where they put a funky twist on favorite southern favorites (how about some their creative selection of Red Neck Rolls?), and now they've brought progressive global Asian fusion to The Collection building behind Village of Merrick Park.
This high-energy, neighborhood hangout was inspired by the partners' trips to New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco where sake joints combined with talented chefs caught their attention, and they wanted to bring the concept back to Miami. The result -- a hip hangout complete with a modern take on Asian dishes, a roomy bar area, a chef's table, a private sake room and the option of dining inside in the midst of all the energy or at a more secluded table al fresco.
Sake Blue Asian Kitchen and Bar brings to Coral Gables the winning formula seen at Town and Smoke't, and the final touches (in the form of the dynamic menu) come to us from the ever-talented Executive Chef, Robert Pagan. He took the skills he learned from two strong players in the Miami culinary scene -- Jonathan Eismann and Douglas Rodriguez and has created a progressive menu complete with his own version of Asian delicacies.
The menu is extensive and offers something for everyone -- both traditional dishes and those with a flair for those who opt for something a bit more exotic. Start off with something from the raw menu like the simple and earthy S&A Roll (seen above) with salmon, avocado and ooba sauce -- one of ten sushi roll options on the menu ($10-$16); or one of the delicate crudo dishes ($10-$14) like the hamachi tataki with a sweet onion vinaigrette, chayote squash and red radish. In my mind, dining out is meant for sharing and Sake Blue has many dishes that are perfect for doing so. The steamed shrimp dumplings ($8) with lemongrass, ginger and ponzu were quite delightful and when you order the Madagascar Shrimp ($10), you'll receive two plump prawns with spicy aji amarillo sauce for an international flair. If you're looking for something a bit more substantial, the noodle and main plate options round out the menu nicely. The Steak Chow Fun ($16) will satisfy your carniverous cravings, as you savor the combination of fresh rice noodles with Chinese broccoli, water chestnuts, shiitake and a Korean staple, gochujang for a pungent kick; and the Seared Cobia ($18) is one dish you should not miss. It's seared to a near-crispy texture and served in a dashi broth with udon noodles, wild mushrooms and a dash of truffle.
Sake Blue is now open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Their $15 bento box at lunch will give you an enjoyable enjoyable introduction to the restaurant (choose 1 soup/salad, 1 appetizer, 1 rice or vegetable and 1 entree + a non-alcoholic beverage).
If you’re visiting from out of town or just enjoyed their selection of sake too much, there are many great hotels to stay at in the area including the Westin Colonnade, Coral Gables.
Sake Blue Asian Kitchen and Bar is located at 225 Altara St, Coral Gables. For more information, call 305-774-5959
--Katherine Lynch of Dine Magazine - South Florida
Photo credit: Katherine Lynch