Most Miami natives are familiar with Akashi in South Miami and its reputable menu as a place for very good sushi. In fact, the folks at Akashi have been making sushi dreams come true for more than 20 years and have no doubt become a favorite among locals. Last fall, the Akashi team decided to take their sushi magic to the changing terrain of Brickell for a shot at the hustle and bustle of a new neighborhood crowd.
On a Friday night, I headed over to their new restaurant venture, Hannya with a concept that’s a bit of a hybrid between Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. With a set of exposed brick décor and neon lights near the sushi bar, the festive sushi spot gets you in the mood for some very good food.
I’d love to rave about how adventurous I was when I went to Hannya and how I didn’t order sushi but rather experimented with other more daring dishes, but I’d be a complete liar. I ordered sushi. And, I’m quite frankly not apologizing for it because it was damn good.
In fact, I strayed so little outside the box that the first roll I ordered was the eponymous roll on the menu “The Hannya Roll” with spicy tuna, salmon, whitefish, avocado, jalapeño masago and seared succulent Japanese sea scallops on top. Needless to say, it was a great introductory sushi roll that set high expectations for the rest of our dining experience.
I also ordered the Hannya Salad because I have a pretty simple theory that one should also order anything named after the restaurant. I didn’t say it was the smartest theory, but this elementary way of thinking is, most of the time, a sure way to choose a decent food item from an otherwise foreign menu. The Hannya Salad turned out to be the night’s most standout dish. A fresh selection of seared seasoned tuna laid over a bed of baby springs leafs with avocado, grilled asparagus and wakame; its simplicity was what made this salad one that I can feast on every day of summer. It was a refreshing salad that didn’t seem jaded with subtle hints of sweetness from the wakame – a total home run.
Another must-try appetizer? The Usuzukuri. Although you’ll try saying this 5 times before even getting close to a correct pronunciation, the name translate into “fish that is thinly sliced” and that’s exactly what this was. Thin sliced white fish, tuna and salmon served with ponzu sauce. This too was an appetizer that stood out because of its solid, fresh taste and its simplicity. The fish is so good that the other ingredients can sometimes be seen as distractions. As so, we appreciate that the fish at Hannya is the biggest selling point.
We also ordered the Alex #2 roll during our visit, since it was recommended by our friendly waiter (it must be noted that service was great) who mentioned it’s a big hit with locals. This is a roll that’s made its way from the Akashi menu to Hannya’s diverse offerings and so when you know something is good, you divert from exploring other options. Rolled with shrimp tempura, krab salad, masago, cream cheese, topped with avocado, spicy mayo, eel sauce and crunch. This roll is a delightful experience that even people who are hesitant with sushi will thoroughly enjoy. With textures that compliment all the great components of said sushi, your taste buds will thank you for a very fulfilling roll.
Mel’s take: If you’re a fan of Akashi, and just plan good ol’ sushi, you’ll very much appreciate Hannya. It’s a guaranteed good sushi meal that stems from an establishment in Miami that’s stood the test of time (a feat all on its own.)
Standout dishes: We’ve had our fair share of good sushi in Miami. The rolls were good and I would definitely come back for another sushi date, but the Hannya Salad would probably be the reason I make multiple visits back. Its memorable arrangement of tuna and greens with just the perfect amount of seasoning was the kind of dish that summer is made for. Truth be told, I didn’t give the noodles a try and there’s an impressive variety that I would be willing to come back for and add to a second Hannya visit.