experience matsuri's new world

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There's a rumor that Madonna eats at Matsuri when she's in Miami. That can't really be confirmed, but the idea of the one and only Material Girl eating at a sushi joint in a strip mall on Bird Road and 57th Avenue, under a blood bank and next to a Cuban food-by-the-pound cafeteria is very, very nice. 

Matsuri is in a strip mall, the location is unusual, but have you seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi? The world's best sushi restaurant is in a subway station. The chef at Matsuri doesn't just stick to California and Dragon Rolls, there's an unusual addendum to the usual roll, sashimi and sushi fare, a "Matsuri's New World" section that you should order from - almost exclusively. Matsuri's New World includes items like a "Matsuri's Risotto" with brown rice, Japanese scallops, bacon and mushrooms is ooey-gooey cheesy, but an exercise in the restraint required for a good risotto. The Negitoro Wasabi Ae, a chopped toro and scallion with spicy wasabi sauce topped with a raw quail egg conjures up memories of another raw egg tartare at Pubbelly. This dish is a must-have, a serious must-have at Matsuri. Have anything off the Matsuri's New World menu and you'll want to try every other dish on there - but you'll probably have to order this one every single time you go. If you're unfamiliar with the minty, cilantro-y taste of the shiso leaf, a Japanese herb, now is your time to dive right into this strange and fresh herb. For a taste of what they can do with an actual sushi roll, try the sampler-style Invitation From The White House (one of a few politically inspired menu item names). Each of these charcoal-broiled sushi rolls is so tasty, so layered, that you'll try and eat it in more than the usual face-stuff-single-bite of all your past rolls. 

What's really amazing about Matsuri is that while they do a thorough job of listing menu items, each dish is a kind of mystery wrapped in a simple description. The Spring Tornado is described as an "avocado, shrimp, vegetable, crabmeat and roasted pork rolled in rice paper" but it comes on a flat dish served with a peanut sauce that has a hummus-like consistency. The chef behind the sushi counter answered a question about what was in the mystery-hummus-sauce he stopped his chopping and thought for a second, "a lot of things" he answered. This made sense, the flavor was complex, clearly peanut based but the texture and the subtlety suggested there were more mystery ingredients wrapped in there. He confessed there was sesame paste (alas, the hummus texture) and some mustard-iteration (which explained the grainy texture). Every dish on the Matsuri's New World menu is equally as complex. 

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5759 bird road.  

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