In the red-hot Miami restaurant scene, where flash and hype don’t always match the substance, Sexy Fish doesn’t disappoint. The cathedral-like dining room opened this spring in the financial district of Brickell at a cost of between $20 million (TimeOut) and $35 million, depending on your source (the manager we spoke with), and the cathedral-like dining room provides a great stage for a fine dining and fun experience.
Designed by Martin Brudnizki Studio, it includes the work of Damien Hirst, 26 fishery lamps by Frank Gehry, two bar areas, a DJ stand (because it’s Miami), an open kitchen, and a choice of traditional banquettes, tables, and highchair seating.
Dressed in Versace-inspired clothing with vibrant and colorful prints, servers and hostesses deliver a Tom Petty Alice experience in a wonderland where walls, ceiling and floors blend together, and fixtures seem ready to descend and join you. Despite it being a spectacle, the acoustics work well enough that you can speak at the table without having to strain your hearing.
Of course the key to eating out for many of us remains the service – more challenging than ever – and the food. Fortunately, my first impression of the velvet rope snooping on the sidewalk was quickly overcome.
Nice hostess checked our reservation at the ropes and then led us to the restaurant and to our table, where they actually seated our dining companions (bonus points for not making them wait until the full party arrived, something that should be banned).
The cuisine is Asian-inspired communal dishes with generous portions. Dishes are brought in waves, but in good timing, so there was always something on the table, but no more than three dishes at the same time.
The salmon tartare ($21) was vibrant and light, served in a beautiful stone bowl with scallions, black and white sesame seeds, and a blend of Korean seasoning.
Rich and decadent, Wagyu Gyoza & Truffle was stuffed with foie gras, deep-fried, and generously topped with Australian truffles.
The Scallop & Foie Gras Roll ($25) was a generous eight, although the foie gras and scallops were a bit bland, probably the only dish we wouldn’t order again.
Skewers of tiger prawns ($25) are garnished with a delicious chili-lemon sauce. They were among the many stars of the evening, the only drawback being that three pieces were shared between the four of us. The prawns were grilled to perfection. I wish we could order the piece.
Ura King Smoked Salmon ($45) has been smoked and then wood-grilled, with a delicious ginger sauce.
Generously portioned, Green Asparagus & Ponzu ($18) is once again presented as the restaurant’s fillet on the grill, topped with a fun citrus vinaigrette and smoky ponzu sauce with bonito chips.
Garnished with Australian truffles, delicious with sweet and spicy flavors, was another dish that was left bare.
The spinach ($15) was wilted with delicious sesame ponzu, bland but not amazing.
However, the best was the desert. The Warm Cinnamon Donut ($16) came with a rich chocolate sauce and yoghurt. We considered ordering a second round.
Meltdown Chocolate ($16) featured a four-piece molten chocolate brownie, praline, but the star was the best vanilla ice cream ever.
There was an extensive cocktail list with some interesting diversions from a regular martini, for example Pumpkin & Spice, which combined Hendrick’s gin, Pumpkin & chai cordial, falernum, all spice syrup and Fever Tree club soda.
While Sexy Fish provided a winning evening from every angle – even the bathrooms, the key was the wonderful and knowledgeable staff who elevated this restaurant to one of our favorites.
Sexy Fish is open Sunday-Wednesday: 12:00 pm to 12:00 am (last session 10:30 pm) and Thursday – Saturday: 12:00 pm until late.