736 First St., Miami Beach, 786-607-0199, Sakura736.com
A Peru native has premiered his first restaurant in the former Now and Zen in the South of Fifth neighborhood.
Carlos Zheng named Sakura after the ship that carried Japanese emigrants to Peru.
“We are doing Nikkei cuisine, which is Japanese Peruvian, but also do authentic Peruvian food,” he says. “We understand Peruvian and Japanese cultures and how the cuisine came about. We are not simply fusing two cuisines.”
Scallops with pisco and Parmesan served in the shell ($14) are one of the many artistic presentations. Zheng’s favorites are Sakura Ceviche with salmon, aji amarillo, passion fruit and ponzu ($18) and lomo saltado ($24) — beef stir fry. “This is actually Chinese-Peruvian. Since I moved to Peru from China, I am very proud of the dish,” he says.
Reservations can be made for a seven-course Japanese omakase chef’s tasting ($200).
The ice sphere in the Japanese whiskey Nippon cocktail takes three days to make and is hand-carved into a diamond shape ($13).
Lunch and dinner are served daily amid an elegant ambience with sea-urchin sculptures behind the sushi bar and teardrop lighting. Brown room dividers conjuring twisty tree branches contrast the white décor of leather banquettes, marble columns and rustic stone walls.
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