zuma is the kind of place you either go totally sober or very drunk. The brunch is a boozy one, with unlimited cocktails (mimosas, of course) and an all-you-can-eat situation that must be one of the world's nicest - unlimited oysters, sushi, noodles, Japanese BBQ, hot dishes brought to the tables, desserts, and a very Marie Antoinette-meets-Japan-in-Brickell situation. The lunch, by contrast, is just as sumptuous, and equally as quality, but in the air hangs the allure of the power-lunch spot and the temptation to eavesdrop on the conversations at all the surrounding tables.
Let me backtrack a bit, Zuma is a Japanese restaurant with outposts in the world's swankiest cities, that caters to the swankiest crowds in those cities. The Miami location is in the Epic and the food is good enough to overshadow the absolutely petrifying experience that is valeting your car there. This morning there was a Ferrari that had been wrapped in a contact paper of shiny purple snakeskin and some kind of graphic print across the hood parked and proudly on display in the middle of the circular driveway for the duration of my two hour Tuesday lunch. If this seems like a lot of detail about ambiance, it's because it would be unfair to recommend Zuma without properly setting the scene, it is all about the scene. And the show. The show extends beyond the well-heeled clientele and the see-and-be-seen atmosphere to the service, which is
If this seems like a lot of detail about ambiance, it's because it would be unfair to recommend Zuma without properly setting the scene, it is all about the scene. And the show. The show extends beyond the well-heeled clientele and the see-and-be-seen atmosphere to the service, which is top-notch and choreographed. Your steak, sashimi and sundae all come with directions (seriously) on how to eat them, it's not annoying, it just feels like the right way to do the food justice. The "suzuki no ozashimi," a seabass sashimi with yuzu, salmon roe and truffle oil, really does taste better when you add the miso marinated ikura to each piece and the steak is better when you first dip it in sea salt, then add wasabi and then baste it in some sort of secret sauce.
The dishes that come without instruction, like the scallops with pickled plum shiso (pictured below) are a revelation. It's rare to get such a perfect scallop. And that's the thing about Zuma, it's not the usual MIAMI NICE vibe, especially because the Miami location isn't the only one, but it's good enough to merit inclusion on here. If you're willing to shell out the cash, looking to celebrate or just watch the whole show, you should go to Zuma for a power lunch - that way you at least remember the dishes the next day. Or don't, the mimosas were great.
IT'S A TRILLION DEGREES OUTSIDE