MIAReview

photo credit: World Red Eye

A modern dining space with wooden tables and chairs, paneled ceilings and modern light fixtures.
7.6

Kyu

JapaneseKorean

Wynwood

$$$$Perfect For:Big Groups
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Wynwood is cursed. The chaotic neighborhood takes things we enjoy—like street art and mini golf—and makes them expensive, optimized for the algorithm, and emotionally draining. That’s what happened to Kyu, one of the first restaurants that made us excited about eating in the neighborhood. Our city’s infamous art district swallowed it whole and regurgitated a fully assimilated Wynwood beast. 

Kyu closed for nearly two years of renovations and repairs in 2022. And if you dined at the old version of this broadly Asian wood-fired restaurant, which seemingly 98% of Miami did, reentering the renovated space feels eerily familiar. The walls are still a sleek stone gray and you can still see straight into the kitchen. But now, tables are crammed together, bathrooms are inconveniently located behind the busy bar, and the space’s original minimalism has been replaced with what can only be described as an upscale dungeon. 

Restaurant interior with bar seating and alcohol shelves

photo credit: World Red Eye

Spread of food and cocktails including bao buns, short rib, and pastrami

photo credit: World Red Eye

Dining room with bar-wood finishings gray walls and wooden tables.

photo credit: World Red Eye

Restaurant interior with bar seating and alcohol shelves
Spread of food and cocktails including bao buns, short rib, and pastrami
Dining room with bar-wood finishings gray walls and wooden tables.

Kyu's acoustics mimic the inside of an MDCPS middle school cafeteria. The indecipherable soundtrack clashes with 60 separate conversations that bounce off the flat walls. No matter how much you inch forward, you can’t hear your server describe the sheer volume of the short rib. And that’s a shame because food is the only reason to come to Kyu now. 

Most of Kyu’s original dishes are still delicious. But like an aging third baseman, all of Kyu’s old hits are better than its new ones. The corn ribs are overcoated with a yuzu aioli that would work better as a dipping sauce on the side. And the “krunchy” kale is sprayed with a yuzu fish oil at the table in an attempt to distract you from the fact that you’re eating $15 kale chips. The famous coconut cake may have met its match with the cardamom doughnuts—possibly the only new menu item worth ordering.

Kale chips sprayed with yuzu fish oil

photo credit: Courtesy Kyu

If you’re going to eat at Kyu, do it with four of your loudest friends (the ones that refer to their mom as “bro”). Nearly every item on the menu is portioned for a party of four, like the hamachi crispy rice that’s injected with wasabi cream filling and eats like a delicious Japanese eclair. Or the fried chicken that sits in a pond of rich, spicy chili butter.

Kyu is no longer the safe and consistent Wynwood option it once was. It’s become this noisy vessel with tables packed like sardines and servers pacing left and right like ants around a sugar cube. Maybe it’s not entirely Kyu’s fault. It still feels like a quintessential Wynwood restaurant. But that's no longer a compliment. Like the old Wynwood, we just really miss the old Kyu.  

Food Rundown

Roasted cauliflower on top of a green sauce

photo credit: Courtesy KYU

Roasted Cauliflower

Back in the day, this roasted cloud received as much buzz as that banana someone taped to a wall and labeled art. It was a revolutionary vegetable sitting on a green chili vinaigrette and creamy goat cheese. Now, you’re lucky if it shows up warm to your table.

Hamachi Crispy Rice

These are too large to eat in one bite, so eat it in two and admire the creamy wasabi filling inside. It’s a lovely starter that mutes the chaos around you for a brief moment.
A plate of sliced pastrami with a basket of bao behind.

photo credit: Kyu Miami

Pastrami Steamed Buns

They look like bao buns, but taste like a Costco hotdog. Although we love a good wholesale hotdog, this is one of the misses from Kyu’s new menu.
Crispy pieces of fried chicken sitting on top of an orange sauce.

photo credit: Courtesy Kyu

Korean Fried Chicken

Another Kyu original, this chicken is juicy and crispy. But it’s the spicy chili butter it sits on that makes it really special. Dress your chicken with enough chili butter to slow your breathing.
Beef short rib on a wooden plate with a side of bib lettuce and an assortment of sauces

photo credit: Courtesy KYU

Beef Short Ribs

If you’re here with at least three people, order this. The giant slab of cow is tender, perfectly cooked, and should be tasted on its own before you assemble it into delicious lettuce wraps.
A slice of coconut cake with a scoop of ice cream.

photo credit: Courtesy KYU

Mom's Coconut Cake

We’re not sure whose mom made this, but whoever she is, we thank her. The alternating layers of vanilla cake and cream cheese frosting are subtly sweet and will convert even the biggest cake haters.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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