Sumi Yakitori: The Best New Japanese Restaurant in Town

Categories: Review

Interior of Jeffrey Chen's Sumi Yakitori.
You might not want to tell friends about Sumi Yakitori, an unlikely Japanese restaurant in Brickell. It's a peculiar place, furnished with an open kitchen and festooned with bottles of booze. Sometimes, a young crowd wanders through the glass doors, stares at the quiet chefs in black T-shirts, and lingers at the entrance. A waiter hands them a menu, and they peruse it with the intensity of a literary critic. Sautéed tofu skin, whole deep-fried quail, and skewered chicken hearts fill the single laminated page, half of which is
written in Japanese.

Occasionally, they stay. But more often, they leave.

So as you tear into your sausage-stuffed chicken wings, you can watch these fussy folks arrive and depart. Perhaps they head for the Peruvian-style sushi joint next door or the Italian trattoria down the street. You consider telling them to stay, that these wings are the best you've ever had. But you eat in silence. You don't want this restaurant disrupted by rowdy mobs.

Because in a neighborhood rife with middling chains and highfalutin bars, Sumi Yakitori is a bastion of honesty -- a shrine to the Japanese tradition of grilled meat on a stick.

Sumi Yakitori belongs to Jeffrey Chen, the prescient man who launched Miami's first ramen house last year. His place, Momi Ramen, boasts a cadre of fervent noodle worshippers who slurp strips of dough from perfectly intense tonkotsu broths.

So when Sumi debuted next door to Momi in June, its opening spurred a flutter of excitement. But today the attention has waned. Often, the restaurant is noiseless. A sole waiter waits for instructions in the kitchen. He stands beside a curtain printed with Hokusai's The Great Wave and escapes these confines only to hand the menu to a passerby or deliver a bottle of sake to a couple on a date. The petite dining room is immaculate, yet it is rarely full. Some nights, the place lacks dishes listed on the menu. "No tofu tonight," the handsome server says unapologetically. Every night, his service is consistently succinct.

Indeed, Sumi has its foibles. But if you visit the restaurant twice, you might spot its regulars: the woman in a blazer who orders angel hair noodles in a soy-based broth and toys with her phone; the guy in shorts and loafers who comes for the hamachi sashimi, which is shipped daily from Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market; the pair that clinks sake cups in celebration of good company and great food.

Location Info

Sumi Yakitori

21 SW 11th St., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

After reading the article, this place sounds way good! My family and I are going to be some traveling here soon, and one of our stops is going to Miami. We've been looking around for different things we can do, and different places to eat, and I think we are going to put this one on the list. I'm way stoked to show my dad this, because he loves Japanese food, and I know he is going to be stoked! Thanks so much for sharing this!

Roger |

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

you know i had to come back and apologize if seem like an ass but ive been holding this in since the place opened. I live within walking distance and yakitori and sake is my favorite thing in life. I want to die and be buried with sake and a yakitori in my hand. It made me so sad to go there twice excited and leave twice disappointed. And dont think im an asshole either, i not only paid for the uncooked meal but i still left good tips cause i hoped the error was attributed to them being new. But watching Kitchen Nightmares taught me i gotta speak up when it comes to bad food service. And what REALLY takes the cake is that this is the SECOND time youve anointed a restaurant the best Japanese restaurant in Miami. The last time is was Makoto and it was right after i had taken pictures of roaches that had crawled out of their sushi fridge vents...LOL

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

Oh. and everytime ive gone someone is pissed cause the service is atrocious and they are waiting half hour for 3 skewers. Take a trip to NY and try Yakitori Taisho. THAT IS STRAIGHT UP REAL MOTHERFUCKING YAKITORI.

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

Best new? HAHAHAHAHA Ive eaten there twice and have gotten raw chicken BOTH TIMES. Yakitori is beer food and this place tries to pass it off like it's gourmet dining. You go here and youre dropping $30 easily and leaving hungry. Ive tried my hardest not to destroy this place on yelp cause ive been craving yakitori ever since i came back from Japan but i can assure you that this place IS NOT the best Japanese Restaurant in town. When you eat fucking yakitori youll know it's a joke. $10 for 3 skewers of chicken when it costs 4.99 for half a pound at publix? Screw you. Oh what they bring in charcoal from Japan to give it that authentic flavor please, id rather they actually cook my food Next time you go pay more attention to you chicken or your chicken thigh and make sure you havent been eating raw meat. And seriously their chicken sausage is a fucking chicken hot dog you buy at costco...LOL best japanese restaurant you should be reprimanded for this joke...

Wah Chang
Wah Chang

Pao Zuniga we can try it out the next time your in need of a myceviche fix. Lol

Now Trending

From the Vault