We’re suckers for anything and everything Asian cuisine. So when we heard Chopped Champion Mathias Gervais was opening Jaya at The Setai, we were curious to say the least. Having never been to The Restaurant at the Setai, we went into the new restaurant with a clear mind. All we knew was that we were in for a culinary journey that would take us across Asia; Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Korean food are just a few of the continent’s cuisines that inspired the new eatery’s menu.
As you’ll soon find out, this was one trip we wouldn’t mind taking again.
Our adventure began with two starters highly recommended by our server: the shrimp maki (shrimp, avocado, rice, salmon rice, blood orange) and the bluefin tuna (ginger, radish, yuzukosho). Of the two, the bluefin tuna blew us away with its beauty and taste. It’s a colorful dish that’s plated gorgeously and features an abundance of fish; the balance of sweet and spicy made our taste buds jump for joy.
Another notable item: the naan. This item was under the Chef’s Favorites portion of the menu, and we can see why. Soft, fluffy and with a charred bottom and fragrant dipping sauce, the naan was the food equivalent of crack. It was hard not to stuff our faces with just naan. Seriously, guys: order this dish no matter what.
Sadly, we had to save room for other items. Thankfully, the other items were just as great — if not more. The peking duck was a crowd pleasure. How could it not be with its crispy, succulent duck meat? And don’t even get us started on the plum sauce, which gave the dish a depth of flavor that made the dish one of our favorites.
The other favorite was the ramen, which was probably the best ramen we’ve had in Miami. Why is it so hard to find good ramen here? Anyway, we digress. The ramen features some wonderfully seasoned broth and pork belly that made us regret not ordering more pork belly during our meals. The noodles — perfect. The portion is perfect for one person, so you could eat this by itself and leave happy and full.
Expect an extensive (emphasis on extensive) selection of sweets to cap your experience at Jaya. They all sound great on paper, so it can be tough to decide which one — or two or three — to order. That’s why we suggest the Jaya Dessert Tasting, where you’ll get try petite portions of the pastry chef’s favorite desserts.
According to our server, the selections change regularly so you’ll never know what you’ll get. In our tasting, we received four desserts: the tofu cheesecake, the almond bread pudding, coconut ice cream and a chocolate variation. As you can see, it’s a pretty varied selection, so if you’re in a large group, this is the perfect way to split some sweets and find the one you like … so that you can order a bigger portion for yourself the next time #protip.
Ultimately, Jaya is worth a visit if you’re looking for some quality Asian food in a beautiful setting. Again, we can’t compare it to what was there before, but we left this restaurant with very happy taste buds. Here’s our advice: Come for the bluefin tuna and naan and stay for the duck and ramen. You won’t be disappointed.