Celebrated sushi in glam South Beach
Master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi brings his culinary prowess to his namesake resto-lounge with an artfully composed menu of innovative sushi and robata (a type of charcoal grill) dishes. Located at the SLS South Beach hotel, Katsuya South Beach is acclaimed for its pristine sushi and sashimi and for attracting Miami’s well-heeled crowd.
Dishes are often too pretty eat, which, when combined with Philippe Starck’s fashionable design, turns dining into a provocative feast in a club-lit space. Starck uses a minimalist yet bold palette of black, white and red with pops of drama.
Behind the sushi bar, the larger-than-life image of a geisha’s eyes always seem to be looking at you, while at the upstairs Dragon Lounge, juicy red lips entice you to pucker up. And that you’ll do when you see the menu.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• Katsuya’s tapas-style menu is designed for sharing and accentuates the authentic izakaya dining experience of Japan.
• Servers are kind and attentive, individually welcoming each guest with much fanfare. Once seated, they’ll gladly walk you through the extensive menu options and sake pairings.
• The Miami restaurant uses locally sourced fish, produce and meat, such as wagyu beef from Jackman Farms in central Florida, as well as seafood flown in directly from Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan. It also has weekly additions based on the season.
• Perched upstairs is Dragon Lounge, which showcases Katsuya’s excellent mixology program. It’s an intimate space and a favorite among locals featuring murals by Miami artists.
• The clientele at Dragon Lounge is glam and glitzy and so are the drinks. You’ll find expertly crafted cocktails like The Geisha, Bombay Sapphire gin with hand-pressed strawberries topped with champagne, or The Dragon, bourbon shaken with yuzu and ginger.
Things to Know
• Omakase is the Japanese tradition of letting a chef choose your order. Literally translated, it means “I will leave it to you,” and we highly suggest you do — you’ll often get items not on the menu.
• The South Beach restaurant seats 150 and reservations fill up quickly, so you’ll want to book in advance, or make an early reservation as most diners tend to arrive after 9 p.m. Private dining is also available in the upstairs Dragon Lounge.
• Mix and mingle with SoBe’s most beautiful during the daily Kanpai Happy Hour from 6 to 8 p.m. in Dragon Lounge.
• Signature dishes include crispy rice with spicy tuna, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño and miso-marinated black cod.
• The Japanese restaurant also serves more than two dozen robata grill items. Wagyu fillet and foie gras as well as the grilled maitake mushrooms are among the most popular.
• All Katsuya locations differ to an extent, so naturally at the chain’s South Beach location you’ll find flavors of Latin America and Miami, like the Katsuya ceviche. It’s an Asian fusion twist on the raw seafood dish with a fresh yuzu citrus ponzu and truffle oil — it’s one of executive chef Jose Icardi’s favorites.
• Born in Japan, chef Uechi is known for his first-rate craft of high-quality traditional sushi. He opened his first Katsuya restaurant in 1997 and since then, the celebrated chef has expanded his empire to 10 locations worldwide and counting.
• Ask Icardi and he’ll tell you that chef Uechi is extremely particular about his techniques and how to use the ingredients. His impeccable attention to detail means that only the highest quality fish is used in his sushi restaurants.
• Uechi’s artistry extends beyond the kitchen. He leaves a stamp when he visits — look for his latest artwork on the walls as you walk up the stairs to Dragon Lounge in the form of Japanese characters painted to represent the restaurant’s name and menu items.