Zuma was in London, the first one of many Zumas that have since opened all over the world so when I heard that they had opened a Miami outpost, I had to go back and see if Zuma had changed.
First was trying to get a reservation. Although Zuma is listed in Open Table, it was impossible to get a booking as all the times I chose for dinner (7:00, 7:30, or 8:00) were showing up as booked already. In the end, I had to call their dedicated reservations number and after several minutes on hold, I was finally able to book a table for dinner on a Thursday evening.
We arrived in Zuma slightly late for our booking as we missed the entrance to the Epic Hotel and ended up parking further down the road at the Epic Residences then just walking over. As soon as we got to the entrance, we were told that we would have to vacate our table at 9:00 sharp. So far, nothing had changed.
The restaurant was packed as usual with loud music and lots of groups squeezed into tables with hardly any room to get through. Interiors are similar to the one in London but instead of a large open space, it was an oddly-shaped room with a smaller bar near the entrance and tables cramped close together. (We should have indicated that we'd rather sit at the sushi bar which was empty).
Our server coming forward immediately with the menus and the drink list and asking if we'd like some edamame to start. While we munched on the edamame, we studied the menu and decided on sharing several dishes along with a glass each of Sancerre and Sauvignon Blanc. We started on some miso soup then a small sashimi plate of three types of fish: salmon, tuna and hamachi. This was followed by some spicy tuna roll - crispy, spicy sesame seed studded rice rolls filled with tuna and avocado.
We then had four dishes from the robatayaki (grill): beef skewers with shishito pepper and chili soy, yakitori boneless chicken thighs and leeks, grilled spiced sweet potato and miso-flavored eggplant along with the five-piece tiger prawn tempura. For dessert, we shared a sorbet selection: three scoops of homemade fruit sorbet: yuzu, mango and lychee.
As in London, dinner was delicious and service was seamless but the feeling of being rushed through the meal is always present along with the surprising add-on 18% service charge. So far, so typical. Diner at Zuma is good Japanese food mixed with people watching and a club-like atmosphere. Next time, it might be better to persevere with booking a table at Naoe where I hear the food is even better and one is never rushed through dinner.
at the Epic Hotel
270 Biscayne Blvd. Way
Miami FL 33131
Telephone: +1 305 577 0277
*Open daily for dinner. Lunch Mondays to Saturdays. Brunch on Sundays.