Makoto for Miami Spice: Glitzy With Vegetarian Options
There's no shortage of glamour at Makoto Okuwa's Bal Harbour restaurant. It
All photos by Zachary Fagenson What mysteries are at Makoto for Miami Spice?
hits you before you step inside the dimly lit, black and light brown space. You've schlepped yourself clear across town for a chance to taste the Morimoto protégé's fare at a reasonable price.
Miami Spice is that oh-so-special time of year when some of Miami's most popular (and expensive) restaurants create three-course menus at drastically reduced prices. It gives the 99 percent a chance to eat the meals they can only dream about the rest of the year. It also throws some business at restaurants during what are traditionally South Florida's slow summer months.
See also: Makoto Okuwa's Five Favorite Restaurants
New Times has partnered with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, which runs Miami Spice, so we've been charged with sampling some of the dozens of Miami Spice menus set to launch August 1. All for free, of course. New Times is also hosting the official Miami Spice kickoff -- Iron Fork -- at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Get tickets here.
If you don't go to Bal Harbour often, you might have to circle a few times to find the restaurant. Try not to feel broke when you pass the Balenciaga and Piaget stores three times. Don't make eye contact with the safari-ready security guards, who grew suspicious the first time you walked by.
Once safe and sound inside Makoto's Zen-like space, you're presented with five options for first and second courses. Dessert is up to the kitchen.
One of the highlights of Makoto's $39 Spice offering is that it's vegetarian-friendly, and not in the steamed-vegetables-and-barley kind of way. There's a salad that arrives in a heavy stone bowl with watercress, crisp tempura bits, and chikuwa -- a kind of Japanese mystery meat made of whitefish, egg whites and salt dressed in soy. Ask them to leave it off if you must. There's also edamame tossed in a sweet-spicy dressing topped with chili threads.