The 2014 Annual Japanese Restaurant Week

Japanese Restaurant Week is all about honoring traditional dishes and original cuisine. This year, the event is celebrating the centennial of Tokyo Station, so many dishes will be revolve around the "100-Years-Old Flavors of Japan" theme, while others will represent different culinary regions across the country.

There will be 30 restaurants participating in New York City, including Go! Go! Curry!, Ramen Misoya, Sobakoh, and Yuba. Presented by Japan Week, a public-private partnership that promotes Japanese culture, food, and travel, the showcase will feature traditional dishes like Kanazawa-style Curry, Edo-Mae (Tokyo-style) sushi platters, and Mizutaki Hot Pot among many others.

Sake for the Commute Home

Skip the tall boy on your train ride home and stop at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall for some Japanese culture and spirits. Just off the main concourse, Vanderbilt Hall will be transformed into a traditional Japanese tachinomiya for three days, March 19th-21st, during Japan Week. The first ever Japanese pop-up bar will resemble the tachinomiya standing bar that has a long tradition in Japan. These standing bars are found in larger cities, like Tokyo, where it is common for business commuters to stop for a quick drink before boarding their trains in the evening.

Inventive Japanese Cuisine at Makoto

Bal Harbour is as recognizable for anyone in Miami as Lincoln Road or Calle Ocho. The highly affluent stretch of Collins Avenue is home to some of the most luxurious residences and also to one of the most luxurious malls in the country, Bal Harbour Shops. While more renowned for it’s designer clothing and jewelry boutiques that include Chanel and Harry Winston, as well as its Neiman Marcus and Saks anchors, the mall is also a destination for the truly savvy gourmand with restaurants like Makoto. Named after Chef Makoto Okuwa who mans the kitchen, this Japanese restaurant has been offering shoppers and culinary connoisseurs inventive fare since it opened its doors a few years ago. Chef Okuwa seems to be in a constant state of creation, and his unique interpretations of Japanese dishes inspire diners to look at one of the world’s most elegant cuisines in an entirely new light.

SUSHISAMBA's Art Basel Popup

Lest we forget about art of the culinary kind during Art Basel week, Sushi Samba will be manning a popup version of their Lincoln Road hotspot in the heart of some of the most exciting satellite fairs. Occupying the former Sustain space in the shops of Midtown, SUSHISAMBA’s SAMBAPOP will be only steps away from such fairs as Art Asia, Art Miami, and Context, as well as a short distance from many others. From now until Sunday, December 9th, SAMBAPOP will be serving “Baselers” their unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian flavors that have made the SUSHISAMBA brand a mainstay on South Beach. With the announcement of its new chef, Brian Nasajon, SAMBAPOP will be the perfect opportunity for both local and visiting art aficionados to sample the new chef’s creative offerings, as well as many favorites.

Double the Fun in Feb at Sushisamba

Japanese SAMBAHour launched on February 1st and is a Japanese inspired happy hour at both Sushisamba locations. The happy hour, which is available on weekdays, takes place from 4-7pm, and features Japanese entertainment and workshops. Enjoy delectable bites such as kuromitsu glazed pork belly buns and spicy scallop gunkan, as well as a selection of Japanese beers and sakes.

But that's not all that's going on this month at the well-known resto. On February 18th, Sushisamba will be hosting a special Carnaval to mark Rio de Janeiro's most noted celebration. Enjoy live performances by shimmering samba dancers, dance to batucada drummers, and pick dishes off of their regular a la carte menu. The celebration will commence at 9pm and (sadly) end at 1am. Both locations will broadcast a live feed of the celebration in Brazil and will be serving up their tasty Carnaval Cocktail ($12, leblon, domaine de canton, fresh kiwi, champagne). There will also be yummy carnval food specials!

Shimmy your way to Sushisamba this month and partake in all of their lively festivities inspired by countries around the world!

Blade Is Back In Business

One of the most exciting additions to the famous Fontainebleau Hotel's many renovations, is the arrival of their beloved sushi restaurant, Blade Sushi. Earlier this month, the Fontainebleau welcomed back Blade Sushi in its new location, alongside Vida, the Hotel’s American brasserie.

The space is very modern and arranged with rounded booth seating, with breath taking views of the Fontainebleau grounds. The central sushi bar is the focus point of the space shared with Vida that will be headed with not one, but three master sushi chefs, Yoshiro Kamago, Deden Bandi, and Diego Ng. All three chefs have trained under sushi masters including Nobu Matsuhisa and Morimoto. Their skills definitely shine through Blade’s newly created menu which features classic Asian flavor with inventive dishes that is signature to the Fontainebleau.

Makoto Now Open!

The long awaited Makoto just opened on March 29, 2011 in the beautiful Bal Harbour Shops. Makoto is the latest addition to a string of famous restaurants; including Buddakan, Morimoto, Hakkasan, and Steak 954; from restaurateur Stephen Starr. Makoto will feature chic, modern design and showcase the elegant and masterful flavors of Japanese cuisine from the very talented Executive Chef Makoto Okuwa.

Chef Makoto has more than 20 years of experience, including working under the world-famous Chef Masaharu Morimoto. After 10 years of training in Japan, Makoto was hired as Executive Sushi Chef at Morimoto New York and Philadelphia and regularly appeared with Morimoto competing on the television program the “Iron Chef”.

A Helping Hand Towards Japan

Unfortunately, Japan suffered yet another earthquake and a tsunami warning yesterday, almost a month since the initial earthquakes and tsunami hit the island country. Thankfully, many national and local businesses are still offering ways to continue helping Japan relief efforts. Joonbug will post ways you can help businesses whose proceeds go to rescue and relief efforts.

Next week, City Oyster & Sushi Bar, one of Downtown Delray Beach’s most beloved restaurants for 10 years running, is making a commitment to support disaster relief efforts in Japan by donating 10% of sales from all sushi menu items from April 11-17 to the American Red Cross. You can help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami throughout the Pacific by ordering any of their sushi menu appetizers including Seaweed Salad, Shrimp Goyza or Kobe Beef Tataki. Or, choose from their 30 plus roles including the Kamikaze (tuna, masago, scallions, jalapeños, tempura flakes, spicy soybean mayo), Beauty & the Beast (half eel, half tuna, scallions, avocado, cucumber, red and black topeko, eel sauce), Oyster Dynamite (oysters, clam, real crab meat, baked with soybean mayo & spicy mayo), or the Mexican (shrimp tempura, spicy mayo, avocado, scallions) to name a few.

Stayed tuned for other Japanese relief efforts that we post throughout the month.

City Oyster & Sushi Bar

213 E. Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach


Hiro's Yakko-san: An Untypical Japanese Restaurant

Hiro’s Yakko-san
17044 W Dixie Hwy
North Miami Beach, FL 33160
(305) 947-0064

Located in an old strip mall with minimal signs, no wonder Hiro’s Yakko-san is hard to find. This Japanese restaurant is unlike any Japanese restaurant you have ever been to, in that no sushi is served. But who ever said that sushi was the only form of Japanese food? So without further ado, if you are looking for authentic Japanese cuisine, this spot’s for you!