I’m not the first blogger to write about Hiro’s Yakko-San (not to be confused with its neighbor, Hiro’s Sushi Express). But after an eating spree there Saturday night, I might be the most enamored. It was a friend’s birthday and we split a selection of the extensive menu to celebrate the occasion. It turned out to be the best meal I’ve had in Miami since moving home in February.
Yakko-San is a mid-sized Japanese “tapas” eatery in an ugly North Miami Beach strip mall. Its decor is unremarkable, lacking even the hole-in-the-wall charm of many a diamond in the rough. TVs hang from the walls of the restaurant’s two rooms, which contain about 15 tables and two bars between them. If you usually don’t fancy eating in Dolby Surround Sound, you may want to make an exception for Yakko-San, perhaps the lone samurai among Miami’s Japanese joints.
My meal started off with a 27-piece sashimi platter ($30) and an order of dried kawahagi, or trigger fish jerky ($4). The two dishes set each other off perfectly, with the fresh, clean bite of the sashimi cleansing the palate after the tough, spiced trigger fish.
Next we moved on to takoyaki, or “octopus pancakes” ($6). I would have preferred more of a fritter-like texture on these, as the combination of mayonnaise and octopus legs makes for a funky swallow. Delicious nonetheless, if a little unsettling.
Listen. I know that doesn’t look good, but in this case you should blame the messenger (or photographer). It’s called Nasu Buta Miso Itame, a composition of Asian eggplant, pork, and miso sauce ($7), and it may have been the best dish of the night. The eggplant was so tender, you could drink it.
Finally we ordered the beef tongue steak ($13.50), thereby concluding the meal with turf almost as good as the surf that started it.
My final bill came to $50, and that was with a lot of sake and Sapporo to wash down the tapas. I couldn’t recommend Yakko-San strongly enough, whether for special occasions (it’s unique, it’s communal) or to satisfy a late-night craving (it’s open until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday). You can get the restaurant’s vitals HERE.