Hai Hospitality, the Austin, Texas-based and James Beard Award-winning restaurant group, announced a January 2021 opening for the highly-anticipated launch of Uchi Miami in the Wynwood arts and entertainment district. Uchi Miami marks the first time the group has opened a restaurant in Florida and it is its second restaurant outside of Texas. Hai Hospitality’s current restaurants include Uchi Austin, Uchi Dallas, Uchi Denver, Uchi Houston, Uchiko Austin, Uchibā Dallas, and Loro Austin.
Translated from the Japanese word “house,” Uchi is one of the best known and most popular sushi restaurants across the country. Executive Chef and owner Chef Tyson Cole started the first Uchi restaurant in a refurbished South Austin bungalow in 2003. Since then, his signature, non-traditional approach to Japanese cuisine has been credited with elevating the city's culinary identity and expanding the profile and ubiquity of sushi nationally.
Uchi Miami represents the next exciting step for Uchi and its Owner and Executive Chef, Tyson Cole.
“We are thrilled and humbled to bring Uchi to Miami's most creative community in Wynwood,” says Chef Cole, recipient of the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award Best Chef: Southwest. “We set out every day to bring the sushi bar experience to every seat throughout the restaurant, each dish is about creating the perfect bite and we can’t wait to serve our Miami guests.”
Hai Hospitality tapped Chef Edward Sura as Chef de Cuisine for Uchi Miami. A member of the team since 2018, Sura previously served as Chef de Cuisine of Uchiko in Austin, another Hai Hospitality brand. Chef Sura developed a deep appreciation for approachable, rustic dishes showcasing fresh, local ingredients while growing up on his family’s farm in Michigan. He honed his technical skills working at Chicago’s preeminent restaurants including Michelin-starred Graham Elliot, acclaimed Perennial Virant, and the NoMI Kitchen, before being named a Semifinalist for the 2016 James Beard Foundation’s Rising Chef Award.
Miami’s menu shines a spotlight on sushi and sashimi, as well as makimono, yakimono, agemono and other Japanese dishes. The core menu opens with cold tastings such as Hirame Usuzukuri ($18.50), thinly sliced flounder, candied quinoa and olive oil; Kinoko Usuzukuri ($14), trumpet mushroom, shallot and white ponzu; Maguro & Goat Cheese ($19.50), bigeye tuna, goat cheese, apple zu and shiso; and Machi Cure ($19.50), smoked yellowtail, yuca crisp, Marcona almond and Asian pear.
The hot tastings selection includes Pork Belly ($20.50), roasted kabocha, shallots and sweet pepper gastrique; Wagyu Ringo ($28), rib eye, smoked apple butter, candied garlic and apple kimchi; Sasami Yaki ($17), airline chicken breast, coconut and cilantro; Snapper ($25.50), Romanesco, shitake mushroom, hazelnut and coconut beurre blanc; and Walu Walu ($18), oak-grilled escolar, yuzupon, candied citrus and myoga. Signature tempura plates include the Ebi ($7.5) a shrimp tempura; Kabocha ($5), Japanese pumpkin tempura; and Hana ($6.50), cauliflower tempura; while additional deep-fried dishes include Karaage ($13), chicken thigh, sweet chili and seasonal pickle; and Brussels Sprouts ($9.50) with lemon and chili.
The menu continues with fresh sushi and sashimi choices such as Namahotate ($6), dayboat scallop; Madai ($6.50/$18), Japanese sea bream; Gyutoro ($12), 72-hour short rib; Nasu ($4), Japanese eggplant, Foie Gras ($10.50); and more. The dynamic sushi roll section includes the Biendo ($14.50), tempura shrimp spring roll, nuoc mam and red grape; Smoked Sake ($13.50), salmon, toasted brioche and crème fraiche; Ham & Eggs ($12.50); crispy pork katsu, pickled cucumber, fried egg miso; Tako Maki ($14), octopus, jalapeno, spicy ponzu; and Soft Shell Crab ($16.50), honeycrisp apple, nuoc nam and fried shallot. Guests can also indulge in three Omakase offerings, a 10-course Chef’s Tasting, a six-course Signature Tasting and a six-course Vegetarian Tasting.
Closing out the core menu are sweet delicacies including Jasmine Cream ($10), cilantro granita, pineapple and honey tuile; Coconut Tapioca ($10); pickled blueberry, hazelnut, and lychee sorbet; Banana Cake ($11.50), chicory, buckwheat and white coffee Kahlua ice cream; and Fried Milk ($11.50), vanilla custard and salted fudge on a toasted blondie.
Uchi’s beloved happy hour is available daily from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. featuring a selection of small tasting plates, sushi rolls, nigiri and dessert. Choices include Hamachi ($7), a Japanese yellowtail roll with Thai chili and negi dare; Bincho Nigiri ($5/2 pieces), albacore tuna, kimchi and negi; Yakitori ($8), short rib meatball, tiger cry relish and bourbon tare; Crispy Rice, broccoli and chili sauce, add short rib ($8) or pork belly ($6); and Yuca Frites ($6), Thai chimichurri and tomato. Also rotating daily is a curated selection of specials that include both small and large plates.
Guests can imbibe a carefully crafted selection of cocktails incorporating Japanese spirits that pair perfectly with Uchi’s fare. The innovative cocktails on the menu include the Shiro Ryu ($16), green tea-infused vodka, coconut, Thai basil, pandan leaf and matcha; Uchi G&T ($13), made with Roku Gin, yuzu cordial and tonic; and Shiso Swizzle ($15), Cruzan Estate Diamond 5 Year-Old Rum, lime juice, mint, shiso and Angostura Bitters. Tequila enthusiasts can indulge in the Subarashi ($16), made with Reposado Tequila, sweet potato shochu, mezcal, lime agave, hibiscus and lime leaf or the Rubi Gawa ($14), Espolon Blanco, grapefruit juice, lime juice, agave nectar and absinthe; while whisky aficionados can sip on the Hai Noon Old Fashioned ($15), High West Bourbon, roasted barley and mole bitters; or the Ten’No ($25), Japanese whisky, golden syrup, Pedro Ximénez Sherry and orange.
Uchi strikes a delicate balance between elevated food and impeccable service in a casual yet sophisticated ambiance. The restaurant’s thoughtfully designed interiors subtly integrate organic elements and a modern aesthetic. Materials such as metal, concrete and rope are softened by a neutral color palette, warm walnut paneling, cream sherpa banquettes, brightly colored botanical wall coverings and soft accent lighting to achieve a refined simplicity.
A one-of-a-kind art installation, a towering cinder block wall handwoven with rope, greets guests that enter. The structure was a collaboration between DRM Custom Masonry (bricks), AWM architecture woodworking (steel structure), and Miami artist and sculptor Vas Bets, who hand-wove the rope.
The restaurant’s 175-seat open floor plan features other craftsmen including Miami artist and textile designer Elan Byrd who designed woven wall hangings that celebrate the texture, and organic natural forms found in nature. Austin-based artists, Jana Swec and Joe Swec who created the original Uchiko’s large art installation in 2010, painted Miami’s interior and exterior wall murals. The striking drama of these artistic focal points is offset by polished and stained concrete floors and custom lighting fixtures that continue the woven rope design.
Diners seated at the 14-seat sushi counter can watch the culinary team in action while intimately enjoying masterfully crafted sushi and sashimi. Adjacent, sits a 14-seat walnut bar and a relaxing lounge that seats 10, with custom pieces by local woodworkers at Holz Wood Shop. A private dining room seats up to 24 and can be split into two separate areas.
The restaurant’s exterior offers al fresco dining on a wraparound patio that is accented by a living plant wall designed by nature-inspired design firm Plant the Future. Local Miami artists will be tapped to create graffiti installations around the outside of the building.
Uchi Miami will be open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight.
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