Brickell is becoming a serious dining destination and here’s another of the best Brickell restaurants. Recently, on the heels of Hutong, comes Osaka showcasing Peruvian Nikkei cuisine. This is the first US outpost of the restaurant group which hails from multiple locations in South America. Nikkei is a fusion of cooking traditions of the Japanese diaspora who settled in Peru in the 19th and 20th centuries and combined their traditions with local ingredients and cooking styles. It takes the simplicity of Japanese cuisine and blends it with the rich flavors of Peruvian cooking.
The décor is earthy yet polished and sophisticated, thanks to the use of all natural materials. Four different kinds of wood are used for screens, wall treatments and tables and chairs, set off by a rustic element of an adobe wall. Pre Columbian style urns lit in dramatic fashion and shiny copper ice buckets serve as decorative elements. The main dining room features a ceviche and Nikkei bar with striking back lighting and a lot of round tables , as this is a cuisine that’s tailor made for sharing. Adjacent to the main room is a spacious bar area, more for couples and singles, where food is also served.
The menu is divided into the extensive seafood based Nikkei bar ,Peruvian izakaya (small plates made for sharing), charcoal grill, specials that are entrée size , and a large selection of desserts. Probably most representative of the complementary cuisines is the beautifully composed Omakase platter which comes in standard and premium sizes, a standout. Here find super fresh buttery sashimi, sushi, tiraditos,and ceviche, each with its own personality and flavor. It’s so visually appealing, with the added touch of artful presentation including edible flowers, that it cries out celebration. It’s pricey, but worth it ($130 for standard platter and $190 for premium which is premium fish).
We then went on to an iconic Peruvian dish, chirashi causa made with yellow potato, tuna tataki, crab salad, salmon roe and ceviche sauce. It was at once a little spicy, creamy, and with an exciting texture. Crowning it was a sea fan of rice painted with squid ink.
A signature dish was next, mariscos al fuego. A blend of sautéed seafood mixed with a special butter, ginger and lime is served in a scallop shell which comes flaming to the table. It was delicate, with nuanced flavors, both spicy and tangy. And, as with all of the fish we tried, it was swimmingly fresh. The Inca gyoza caught our eye – duck confit with caramelized onions, shitake mushrooms and aji amarillo sauce, garnished with a rice fan that served as a canopy for the dumplings. We ended the meal with another favorite, Ponzu vegetables, a blend of charred and smoky eggplant and romaine, tomato, and shitake mushrooms with rocotto relish, katsuobushi and ponzu sauce.
There’s a menu of signature cocktails from $18 to $30. A glass of wine (5 ounce pour )starts at $12 and bottles of wine start at $50.
A DJ is on hand on weekend nights. As with many Miami restaurants the volume is turned up as it gets later, so if you want a quiet conversation, go early. Expect to pay about $225 for two with a cocktail, including tax and tip. Plans are to open for lunch this month.
Osaka Miami. 1300 Brickell Bay Dr., Miami; 786-627-4800.