Post Caribbean Cruise, my family rolled in to the Residence Inn (Miami Beach/Surfside). We had visions of spending the afternoon at the beach but our unfortunate luck landed us in Miami when it was pouring down rain. This produced moans and groans from my boys but I took it as a sign that I should research gluten free dinner locations instead.
My current hometown is landlocked, so when we visit either coast, I am always searching for a great place to grab fresh sushi.
Chef Makoto Okuwa’s namesake restaurant Makoto was walking distance from our hotel.
A James Beard Foundation recognized chef for outstanding contribution, Chef Okuwa hails from Japan and has risen to notoriety on the heels of Morimoto and Iron Chef America.
I scored the only reservation available for the night: 5:30pm. As I was unsure whether this was a child friendly place, I took the early dinning reservation as a sign of luck. Miami is a very adult destination in general. You throw in a well-known chef and your chances go down considerably for child friendliness.
Tucked in to an upscale mall in the Bal Harbour district of Miami, the ambiance, patrons and employees are equally beautiful. It never even crossed my mind to ask for a children’s menu because stepping across the threshold I realized this is not that type of place. In a sea of millennials staring at their phone instead of each other, we were definitely the odd ones out with young children of only three and eight years old. But strangely, neither the hostess nor the server made us feel uncomfortable about our kids following along so that initial feeling quickly melted as we settled in to a roomy corner booth for four.
We went through the allergy spiel and we were quickly walked through the menu explaining what could be prepared gluten free. Basically, it is a whole bunch of raw fish, some cooked fish, salad, and veggies.
Kid Allergy opted for the edamame and vegetarian fried rice. The rest of us went with the chef’s recommendation of sashimi and sushi, shishito peppers and vegetables.
The sashimi melted in our mouths and the whole food experience was absolutely divine. The staff was so eager to educate and present the food that every time it arrived we felt like we were receiving a beautiful new gift. It engaged my children and, in turn, we never felt rushed or uncomfortable.
Kid Allergy- two thumbs up
My son stuck to pretty standard kid friendly Japanese fare and enjoyed it. But, he couldn’t tell that a chef with great accolades prepared it.
Mom- two thumbs up
Kid Allergy got a protein and some veggies that were gluten free that he ate complaint free. Plus, the sushi was melt in your mouth amazing!
Honestly, if you happen to have overly cranky kids exhausted from a long day, this might not be my first pick. But, if everyone in your family is in the mindset to handle a trendy, upscale Japanese dining adventure, this is a great gluten free find when visiting the Bal Harbour, Miami area.
Walk in knowing that you will pay a pretty penny for what you order. Portions are small and pricey. But, I do think this place lives up to the hype and is splurge worthy.