By Santi Cardona
Pubbelly Sushi (8970 SW 72nd Pl, Kendall) is one of my personal favorite restaurants. If you’re familiar with the Miami dining scene, then you surely know about Pubbelly Sushi as well. The sister restaurant of the iconic Pubbelly, whose first location was opened in South Beach back in 2010, is an Asian-inspired gastropub where notable chef and restaurant owner Jose Mendin adds his hispanic flare to approachable and non-fussy food. Now, Chef Mendin and his partners have expanded their sensational sushi concept to Kendall. Yes, Kendall. And in the heart of Downtown Dadeland, no less, which has become the home for a bunch of notable Miami restaurants such as Ghee, Harry’s, and Barley (another Santi favorite).
Menu highlights: If you like your sushi rolls warm, sweet and spicy, and a bit on the heavier side, you cannot go wrong with the Crispy Salmon Roll. Made with cream cheese, eel sauce, spicy mayo, panko, and (obviously) salmon, this a very well executed maki roll that is a perfect representation of what made sushi popular in the United States. This roll hits every part of your palate, satisfying any craving that you could possibly have.
The Grilled Octopus with lemongrass and crispy garlic was as tender as you could possibly imagine and charred to add some texture. The lemongrass an unmistakable asian flair that is amplified by the ‘zing’ of the fried garlic, making them a perfect pairing for the generous amount of octopus.
The Tostones with Ceviche were another winner, showcasing the more Latin side of what Chef Mendin has to offer. The ceviche is a classically made one, made under the impression that you are going to put some on top of the tostón to eat like a tostada. The tostón is perfectly fried and a good vehicle for such a delicious ceviche. Warning: these are addictive.
Standout dish: Pubbelly Sushi’s most popular dish is the Butter Crab Roll, and rightly so. The crab roll, served alongside a pool of clarified butter, is decadent yet simple. It’s safe to say that this is the best sushi roll that I have ever had. While it is true that dipping sushi in butter is not in the least bit authentic, the notion of pairing a crab roll with such a classic pairing and making it stand out the way it does is absolute genius.
Are we boozing? Most definitely. All of the cocktails are sake based and offer a great twist on normal cocktail lists. My personal favorite is the Milky Way, made with Nigori sake, Junmai sake, lychee “milk,” and passion bobba. The bobba adds a unique texture that is not very common is cocktails, making them more adventurous and playful. The beer list is also superb, serving some local favorites that are ever-rotating.
Check this place out if you like: sushi in general, or gastropubs. While the rolls here are not authentic, it is unmistakable that they are absolutely delicious. Prepare to come with a few friends and order a bunch of dishes to try, as that is the best way to get a good Pubbelly experience.
Santi’s take: The fact that Pubbelly Sushi now has a location in Kendall is a gift to those of us that can’t justify going to the Beach just to dine on a consistent basis. Finally, Kendall is getting some much needed loving, and I could not be more happy about it. Welcome, Pubbelly Sushi. You will be seeing a lot of me.