A Happy Birthday at Yakko-San

By | February 7th, 2011 | 12 Comments

The birthday boy gives new meaning to the words 'smoked fish' at Yakko-San.

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.


12 Comments on “A Happy Birthday at Yakko-San”

  1. 1 djkmia said at 4:41 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    That smoked fish is awesome!

    My friend Maor took my wife and I there the 1st time last year and he made a list of items that we should get before going in (he’s always prepared and intense like that but knows his stuff). Ironically, for my own knowlege I took a picture of the list and everything we ate is circled. Check it out. Between 6 of us we had so much awesome stuff! I knew that picture would be of use some day.

    http://twitpic.com/3xieng

  2. 2 Jordan Melnick said at 5:21 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    Everyone should have a friend like Maor.

  3. 3 Lil Kirby Nantucket said at 5:28 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    Bob Costas had a son whom on his birthday chomped a smoked fish.

  4. 4 Jordan Melnick said at 5:39 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    Your “whom” has no antecedent, Lil Kirby, so I refuse to reply further.

  5. 5 Womb said at 5:44 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    beached miami is the trigger to my trigger fish!

  6. 6 Lil Kirby Nantucket said at 6:06 pm on February 7th, 2011:

    It has been speculated that Bob Costas had a son named Tad Williams some time in the month of February. Why Tad forsook his family surname I do not know, but what I do know is that he’s a jolly good ol’ chap whom on his birthday chomped a smoked fish. =P

  7. 7 Big Time Jones said at 10:05 am on February 15th, 2011:

    Jordan: Glad to see you got on Hiro’s. Actually, there are a few places where you can similarly eat authentic Japanese in Miami — Maido in Doral, Su-Shin Izekaya with its great blackboard specials, and Matsuri in the Gables, especially if you speak Japanese. (which I do)

    Really enjoying your stuff.

  8. 8 Jordan Melnick said at 11:33 am on February 15th, 2011:

    Thanks Big Time. Will definitely give ‘em all a try.

  9. 9 Mikey Berlin said at 12:36 pm on February 23rd, 2011:

    No Lotus root, Bok Choy, Miso Sea Bass, or Yaki-Nikudon, or fried cheesecake????

    Return to Yakko San at once

  10. 10 Javier said at 8:26 pm on April 8th, 2011:

    Food was ok. However, this place service sucks. They wouldn’t take back an order that they screw up on it, beacuse it was already served in the table. The manager was very unprofessional, he even said F*** you to me. What type of services is this??
    I pay my money and I get cursed out??

    I wouldnt recommend this place to anyone…
    Stay away..

  11. 11 ariel said at 8:35 pm on April 8th, 2011:

    Food was not all great, service was disgusting. No class at all no manners waiters messed up on some customers order and then asked them to pay for something they messed up on. manger is the most incosiderate and rudest person calling one of the customers F. U.

    HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE
    Dont go

  12. 12 Jordan Melnick said at 10:24 pm on April 8th, 2011:

    @ariel and Javier, I’m surprised. Always had very nice servers and more than tolerable service. Food, in my experience, has always well above ok.


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