Akira back is a Korean-American snowboarder turned chef who’s got his restaurants scattered all over the region in Delhi, Jakarta and Bangkok. With his signature modern Japanese cuisine with Korean accents, it’s created quite a bit of buzz when it opened a stylish outfit at the JW Marriott in South Beach.
The restaurant was stylishly decorated, service staff were attentive, but our only gripe would have to be the EDM and DeadMau5 blaring from the speakers.
But it’s all about the food isn’t it? So here are some of the dishes we ordered:
We started with some Eggplant Miso with mozzarella ($15).
They used sweet miso which was very tasty and went wonderfully with the melted cheese. But it was actually very oily, so if you’re not a fan of oil dripping down your chin when you bite into this, i’d say steer clear.
The Hot Mess Roll ($23) was great though.
A combination of King Crab tempura, sashimi poke, wakame and spicy ponzu aioli, this was a mouth full of creamy deliciousness. The raw salmon, tuna and yellowtail was very fresh and when drenched in the tangy, creamy and spicy sauce was just absolutely heavenly.
We also went for the recommended main of 48-hr ‘Sanchoku’ Short Rib ($48).
This was pretty disappointing. Especially given the price tag and the fact that this was their most recommended main dish. The texture of the rib was great, no doubt sous vide two days for a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. But it was really bland. There was barely any salt, or flavour to the meat. And the sauce tasted like just regular soy or ponzu sauce. If the carrot or radish were pickled it might also have added some dimension to the dish, but sadly these were just boiled in water. Unless you like your meat flavourless, i’d say splurge on more rolls instead of this.
The next dish came highly-recommended by a couple of good friends – The AB Tuna Pizza ($25).
The crust was really thin and crispy it was almost a cracker. And i loved the flavour and texture in the smoked tuna, especially with an umami aioli sauce base. Topped with a drizzle of truffle oil and sprinkled black pepper, this was divine.
And then, because we wanted to have a little something to fill us up, we went for the King Crab Fried Rice ($16).
This, while not outstanding, was not bad. There wasn’t a lot of crab meat in the rice, but it had a delicious, robust garlic flavour. Also, the rice was not overcooked or mushy and had a nice bite to it.
And to end off the meal, I had a Spicy King Crab Miso Soup ($8).
Again, this was average. The miso was very light and there were maybe two chunks of crab meat with wakame.
Overall, I’d say there were many hits and misses. The rolls were good, as was the Tuna Pizza. But pretty much everything else was average at best and the meal was slightly overpriced given the lack of originality or consistency in flavours.
Did I enjoy the meal? Yes. But will I return? Probably not.
Overall: ★★★☆☆ Hits and misses. Overpriced.