photo credit: Liam Brown
Coco Chanel once said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” It’s advice we want to give the nigiri at Sushi Bar, a 12-seat South Beach omakase with a location in Austin. At this $175 per person, 16-course (not including dessert) omakase inside the very cute Esmé Hotel, sushi is too accessorized: blackberry salt on king salmon, everything bagel spice on akami, even a dab of Frank's RedHot on the spot prawn—it’s all just a bit much. None of the flavor combinations are terrible, but the novelty wears off quick, and by course nine, you’ll be hoping the next nigiri placed in front of you won’t have a novella of ingredients (which it will).
This place also shares an origin story with another out-of-town omakase that has landed in Miami, Sushi by Scratch. The founders of Scratch eventually left Sushi Bar to do their own thing. Why is this context important? Well, because the two concepts have eerily similar menus—down to the final bite of unagi topped with sizzling bone marrow and an inevitable Joe Rogan name drop by the staff (whose love of the original Sushi Bar is largely responsible for the long waitlist at both places). It begs the question: does Miami really need two very expensive omakase options that feel so comparable? No, not really. So go to Sushi by Scratch if you’re trying to pick one. It’s better, and $10 cheaper.
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