It’s a big success in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Its matzo crusted fried chicken was such a big hit, the owners spun off an eatery that’s all about the chicken. Blue Ribbon Sushi Miami in the Art Deco Plymouth Hotel is cool, comfortable, buzzy, attractive, and is the food ever delicious.
Despite its name, it’s not just about sushi, though serious sushi fans say it stars not only because of the quality of the fish, but also, for the wide variety (though there’s salmon, tuna and shrimp). Think sea eel, jellyfish, Japanese snapper and porgy, silver skinned fishes and more. A menu insert lists seasonal varieties and other daily specials. The menu has a wide selection of box sushi, rolls and platters including a whole Maine lobster sashimi, Chef Masa’s omakase and the Blue Ribbon Special for a group of two to four people ($170) that includes 12 pieces of sushi, 18 pieces of sashimi and 3 specialty rolls ranging from fatty tuna belly and Tasmanian sea trout to spotted sardine. There’s also by the slice pieces of sushi and sashimi arranged by Pacific ocean, Atlantic ocean and rest of the world. A clever selection of extras such as spicy smelt roe, quail egg, mint leaf and avocado can be added to any piece.
A wide variety of appetizers, over two dozen, offer appealing options for all tastes making it difficult to choose. Guided by the manager, our party of four chose to start with the Kanpachi Usuzukuri, thinly sliced amberjack with yuzu pepper and yuzu ponzu. It was meaty, super fresh and had just the right amount of zip. Similarly the salmon serrano, soy marinated salmon with lime miso was delicious, with a sliver of serrano pepper on each slide. The carnivore in the group opted for the wagyu gyozas, pan seared dumplings filled with the prized beef and covered with toubanjan, a korean sweet chili sauce and a goma (sesame) dressing.
We were happy to see a big selection of vegetables, both as appetizers, sides and rolls, with not your usual preparations. We opted for the addictive crispy brussel sprouts with a light coating of miso butter and a welcome crunch from chili strings. Even more unusual was the grilled avocado infused with wasabi ponzu and sesame, a dish we’d like to see on more menus. Speaking about the vegetable rolls, there were no fewer than a dozen rolls including black or straw mushroom and fermented soy beans and scallions. They’re on the list to try next time.
Then it was time for the main event, the standout Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken. The matzo meal is mixed with egg whites and Japanese chili sauce imparting a distinctive and delicious flavor. Unlike many fried chicken, the crispy skin fuses to the chicken so you have the whole experience in each mouthful. An order was four pieces that I wish had been more (alas, one piece for each of us). The chicken was crispy, very tasty and super moist. We teamed it up with their signature ox tail fried rice made with bone marrow, shiitake mushroom and daikon radish, undoubtedly the richest and deeply flavorful fried rice ever.
Somehow we managed to eat dessert which we didn’t regret. It was the ginger bread pudding with ginger ice cream and butterscotch sauce. There’s seating inside next to the sushi bar or an outdoor terrace poolside which is especially enjoyable in the cool winter season.
Prices for appetizers and rolls and desserts are in the teens. Fried chicken and other entrees by land and sea are in the twenties except for Maine lobster. A glass of wine ( 5 ounce pour) is $15 and bottles start at $30. Cocktails range from $14 – $17.
There’s valet parking, $20 (no validation)
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, The Plymouth Hotel, 336 21st Street (T.305-800-0404).