Sakaya Kitchen Cooking Fresh Asian in Midtown

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Sakaya Kitchen, a "fast-casual Asian-inspired organic-conscious restaurant," is now open in midtown Miami. The menu is a mix of  Asian comfort and street foods such as Korean style BBQ, fresh noodle boxes, and Filipino egg rolls. The man behind the business is Richard Hales, who not only worked under Jean-Georges Vongerichten, but also attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City, where I was a chef/instructor -- so he's gotta be good.

Seriously though, Hales was the Asian chef at the Mandarin Oriental Miami when it first opened, then became sommelier at Azul. An extensive list of premium sakes will be offered at Sakaya -- which translates to "sake shop" in Japanese.

More photos and info after the flip.

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Korean chicken and egg roll
Actually, Richard describes his restaurant better than I can:
Sakaya Kitchen is a new concept I created to bring a high level of food quality to a counter service concept. We make all our menu items in house from scratch daily. Nothing processed or frozen. We are using all natural meat, poultry and seafood, organic dairy and fresh produce. We cure our meat, pickle vegetables, make our own spice rubs and marinades, make our own egg rolls and all the sauces daily. For the pork in our egg rolls we cure a boston butt for 24 hours then roast it low and slow for 8 hours for example. We are going to great lengths to make sure the food has many layers of flavor.
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Ginger noodles
The menu includes "classic Asian to Southeast Asian" dishes, some of "the most popular so far" being Korean-style chicken and baby back ribs with honey, orange and soy. The menu is compact, but Hale is adding items day by day. He is getting set to start delivery too, as well as introduce a Sunday brunch called "Dim Ssam Sundays" -- which, if nothing else, is a damn good name.

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Behind the line
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Take-out boxes
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Eggroll with kimchi
Sakaya Kitchen is located on Buena Vista Avenue between NE 36th and NE 34th Street, in the Shops at Midtown Miami; 305-576-8096.

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