Gekkō is a good example of the lengths Miamians will go to feel any sort of proximity to Puerto Rican megastar and one of the most important artists of this generation, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, a.k.a. Bad Bunny. The fact that Mr. Bunny has attached his name to this Japanese steakhouse and sushi restaurant is truly the only reason why it’s one of the hardest reservations to book in Miami right now.
And we get that. Even a .00000001% chance that you might sit next to Benito and accidentally brush hands as you bend down to retrieve a fallen chopstick can seem worth hunting for a reservation.
But while his reputation looms large over the exterior of Gekkō, it's barely present at all within it. That’s the most frustrating part about this place—not the food, which is alright and occasionally pretty good. But once you're seated, it's just hard to see Gekkō as anything but an above-average yet generic entry into Miami's overpriced sceney restaurant universe.
photo credit: Courtesy Gekko
Gekkō is located in Brickell, where there are no shortage of see-and-be-seen restaurants wringing money out of well-dressed customers like sweat from an Equinox gym towel. But Gekkō beats just about every other place that falls into this category when it comes to food. Yes, it’s overpriced and suffers from unnecessary edible gold leaf syndrome—but the steaks are cooked wonderfully and the quality of fish in the sushi is impressive. If you don’t mind spending between $150 and $200 per person, you can actually have a good meal here.
Where Gekkō really falls short is aesthetics, especially considering the ways in which its famous parent so effectively utilizes visuals in his live performances, music videos, and own sense of style. Gekkō’s depressing black interior is so far from the tropical neon landscape present onstage during Bad Bunny’s joyful live shows. Instead of palm trees, beachscapes, and purple sunsets, Gekkō’s color scheme is like a bruise—all midnight black, red, and blue. The winding dragon mural behind the bar makes the space feel like one bad lower back tattoo. It’s less like taking a trip to an island paradise and more like being trapped in the underground bunker of a bougie prepper with good taste in fish.
That—not the food—is the most disappointing thing about Gekkō. It’s not that it's co-owned by a celebrity that bothers us, but the fact that it doesn’t feel more true to that celebrity. Because if this place actually did reflect all the great things about Bad Bunny into a dining experience like a magnifying glass pointed towards the sun—what a fun restaurant that’d be, right?
Japanese Milk Bread
These give more dinner-roll-with-sprinkled-furikake than Japanese milk bread to us, but it’s still warm and buttery and worth getting on the table. Especially since it’ll help you fill up before a flurry of rather small portions.
Is there a dumpling out there so good we’d happily pay $32 for four of them? Perhaps, but these aren’t it. They are barely deserving of the word “fine” and are also, for no reason at all, topped with a gold leaf that flaps pathetically in the wind of Gekkō’s very strong air conditioner.
This dish consists of thin sheets of good scallop draped over a yuzu jelly and topped with slices of chili. Other than the too-thick chili slices that overpower the scallop, the tiny bites mostly work. They are tiny though, so expect this dish to be gone in literally six bites.
Chef’s Nigiri Selection
They have a couple omakase platter options here—$38 for six pieces or $56 for nine. You should get one of them, because the quality of fish (especially the otoro nigiri so tender you could chew it with a stern look) is quite good.
Wagyu Skirt Steak
You can spend up to $975 on a 42-ounce A5 ribeye here. But if you don’t want to do that (and we certainly wouldn’t blame you), the $105 wagyu skirt steak is also good. It’s lean but rich, cooked to your liking, and served with a head of roasted garlic for smearing.