Two words best describe Zuma, 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, in the Epic Hotel (T.305-577-0277). Class act. The cuisine is elegant as is the place (casually so) and the clientele. Ingredients are top notch, the presentation is very creative without being precious, and the service is attentive and friendly. You can tell I really like the place. I’ve been here several times. I have to say, the best time for my taste is lunch. At dinner it can be frenetic and crowded, the way the several “hot” restaurants are in Miami. At lunch you can really enjoy it, and even more so, with the three course special for Miami Spice for $23 plus tax and gratuity. We each ordered different dishes. To start we had the two appetizers, white miso soup and the Japanese mizuna salad, greens with bacon and maple dressing . My friend followed with the salmon teriyaki with pickled cucumber, a perfect size portion, very fresh and tasty.
A standout was what they call the sashimi collection — a medley of sparkling fresh fish with avocado, cucumber, asparagus and salmon roe, displayed like jewels resting on a bed of rice. There’s also chicken teriyaki with shiitake mushrooms and a vegetarian dish with truffles. We also had an extra dish that wasn’t on the Spice menu and worth the departure — a beef tataki with summer truffle. It was like a rolled beef carpaccio topped with black truffles and tempura flakes. “I haven’t had anything this good in awhile, “said my high glam, well traveled friend. For dessert I had the mango sorbet on a bed of crunchy tapioca beads with pineapple marinated in plum sake, and she chose the chocolate flan with salted caramel ice cream and ginger streusel.Each was a complex explosion of tastes — different, subtle, and beautiful in the presentation. I ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the Spice menu and she had coconut iced tea with shaved coconut on top, a good choice. With tax and tip the bill came out to about $50 each, not cheap, but a worthy indulgence.