Amir Ben-Zion, the restaurateur behind Gigi, Bardot, and Bond Street, resurfaces with his revamp of the Vagabond Hotel’s dining outlets, now called Vagabond Village at the Vagabond Hotel.
The project consists of a restaurant called Vagabond Sushi and Bar and a series of bars and lounges that occupy both the indoor space and the outdoor pool courtyard. Executive chef Mike Hiraga, who worked for Blue Ribbon Sushi in Miami Beach, leads the kitchen team.
The handsome mid-century dining room still exhibits retro charm but has been given an Asian-noir upgrade with a sushi bar flanked by plush bar stools and banquette seating in ruby and sapphire hues. Pieces by local artist Juan Rozas are displayed on gilt-brushed walls.
Haute Japanese with an emphasis on shareable small plates and sushi. Prices are on par for hip Asian joints with small plates ranging $8-$21 and larger mains $19-$27.
Small plates and sushi lead the way with shareable dishes of watermelon kimchee and goat cheese salad and crab dumplings while finger foods like tempura shishito peppers and pork belly bao buns pair nicely with cocktails. Sushi presentation here is traditional, from sashimi and nigiri to maki rolls like hamachi serrano and spicy lobster.
Larger appetites can be satisfied with the 20-ounce cowboy steak, served with crisp yuca mojo, as well as the Chilean sea bass with fennel salad and a pork osso buco.
Desserts have a comfort food influence with the torreja French toast made with cinnamon and apples and the nutella brownie with caramelized popcorn.
Contemporary Asian cuisine, original cocktails and sake are a welcome new change at this MiMo gem.