First look: Shiso

Shiso White Fish Roulade.

The goods: Hidden next to a wine and liquor store right around the corner of Miami’s residentially chic Purdy Ave, Shiso is the type of hidden gem perfectly poised for meet ups and discussions over countless rolls and iced bottles of Japanese sake or wine. Step through the foggy white doors and into the tiny studio apartment-sized space, where you’ll be greeted by faux-brick walls, a DJ spinning ’80s and ’90s tunes and couches perfect for lounging while waiting to be seated. Just make sure to make those reservations early if you want to secure a table, as the spot has only about six of them.

The grub: The former Domo Japones chef on the roster starts you off with black truffle edamame ($5), which is perfectly tossed in sea salt, and an order of the shiso field greens ($7), a salad-type dish which joins goat cheese and gogi berries drizzled with a tomato ginger vinaigrette.

Perk up your starter courses with unique saketinis with clever tongue-in-cheek names such as the Brazilian Carnival Queen ($12), a blend of unfiltered milky sake with a mix of berries like acaí and blueberry and lightly sprinkled with Pop Rocks candy. For the main meal, nibble on Tuna Poki ($15) – diced tuna, mango bits, kimichi peanuts, seaweed, sesame seeds and lotus chips – or well-made standards such as the spicy tuna roll ($10), which gets its kick from chili mayo.

The verdict:
Japanese fare for those who prefer their rolls with a side of style and intimacy.

Shiso, 1418 20th St, Miami Beach; 305-672-1119

Published: 2/09

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