There’s no lack of Japanese restaurants in the Magic City but the menus are pretty predictable. Not so with Miami’s first Japanese pub, Buya Miami . Not only is the menu creative, so much so that we had a tough time choosing, but also, the street food is downright delicious. It’s not surprising how good it is considering that several of the partners hail from KYU. This is their fourth location, joining St.Petersburg, Florida, Berlin and Potsdam. Service is friendly, prices are reasonable, and dishes are served with two pieces for sharing as this is about small plates.
The menu is divided into 3 sections –Charcoal, Bowls and Super Rad. This is a pub so the decor is minimalist except for a mural behind a corner bar. Tables are well spaced inside and there are outside tables under a canvas awning.
We started with Kaarage, their signature double fried chicken in mouth size pieces. It is marinated in ginger, garlic and soy, breaded, seasoned with salt, and served with a side of kewpie mayo. It had just the right kick and was ever so crispy.
Another favorite were the shitake mushrooms on a skewer, seasoned with yuzu salt. We gobbled down both dishes.
Mr. W had the skewered yellowtail that was moist and very fresh. A welcome complement to the spicy dishes was a unique take on a seaweed salad that was slightly sweet, made with hijiki, tosaka, apple, cucumber, and umami vinaigrette. I opted for the Wagyu beef skewers grilled over binchotan charcoal that we both enjoyed.
Our waitress suggested the Japanese Gazpacho as a palate cleanser. Since I’ve always had it as an appetizer, I wondered how that would work, but was really happy we ended up trying it. The miso broth was poured from an attractive pot into the bowl that had tofu, black tobiko and cucumber sushito. It was slightly creamy in texture and was totally refreshing. Next time I’d like to try the duck dumpling hot pot and Tokyo street corn.
Dessert was unexpected, a Handmade Mochi stuffed with sweet red bean, matcha ice cream and kinako crumble and the Sesame Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich.
All dishes, made for sharing, range from $8 to $15. There are signature cocktails, a selection of beer and wine.They are waiting on their full liquor license and launching a selection of Japanese whiskies.
Buya Izakaya + Yakitori is located at 250 NW 24th Street, Wynwood. It’s open for lunch and dinner from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and late night on weekends. There’s street parking and garages nearby.