If you’ve been anywhere near Alton Road or West Avenue on Miami Beach lately, you’re probably familiar with the never-ending construction on those roadways. The continuous street work has hurt businesses left and right; people are less likely to visit your business if they have to navigate through detours and other obstacles. One of the businesses affected by the construction: SOHO Bay. The Japanese-Brazilian eatery had to shut down temporarily because all roads leading to the restaurant were blocked off.
Fortunately for SOHO Bay, some of that construction has finally let up and it has since reopened. And fortunately for us diners, the restaurant hasn’t missed a beat.
For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, SOHO Bay fuses Japanese and Brazilian flavors in a beautiful atmosphere. The 520 West Avenue space is home to one of the most gorgeous waterfront views on the beach. We were told that people come here just for the sunset, and we can’t blame them. Just as impressive is the restaurant’s interior, which features a sleek sushi bar, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and other architectural highlights.
Enough about the setting, though. The food is the main attraction, and Chef Ricky Sauri does not disappoint. We ate our way through a tasting menu by Chef Sauri, whose culinary credentials include multiple Nobus as well as the now-shuttered Khong River House. Because it was our first time visiting the restaurant since its grand opening party, we were treated to a little bit from every section of the menu. In other words, we ate a lot of food.
The evening began with Shishito Peppers and Brussels Sprouts, two small bites that packed a lot of punch. The former featured bonito flakes and chunky soy while the latter featured miso butter and crispy kimchi; both featured immense amounts of deliciousness. What was unique about the Brussels sprouts was the emphasis on leaves rather than full (or even half) sprouts; it was a nice variation on the sprouts we’ve come to expect.
Crudos came next: LionFish Rio and Fluke. Of the two, the fluke was our favorite. The chinese celery amazu, the tropical spinash, the asian pear and the sea salt all just worked magically together; the elements paired perfectly and were a flavor parade in our mouths. The Tuna Salad continued this fun culinary rollercoaster with beautiful composition, including a pretty flower of tuna. And it tasted just as good as it looked. We would buy the green tea dressing by itself if it was for sale (hint, hint).
Another highlight of the evening was the Chilean Sea Bass: flaky, moist and even sweet from the date gastrique. It was heaven on a plate. As you’ve probably noticed, there’s been a lot of proteins in our meal so far. Those seeking something on the plate-based side need to order the Forest Roll ASAP. If all vegetarian food tasted like this, we’d consider forgoing our meat-eating ways. The roll — comprised of warm mushrooms, garlic aioli, asparagus, truffle caviar and upland watercress — sounded amazing and just made us fall in love from first bite to last.
Our other beloved roll was the Smoked Spicy Hamachi with scallions, wasabi, smoked aioli and jalapeno sauce. With a good bit of heat and the freshest of fish, the roll delivered on all fronts and is a must if you’re in the mood for sushi — and even if you’re not. Last but not least for savory fare was the Oxtail Ramen, which featured some of the softest and most tender meat we’ve encountered.
How we managed to squeeze dessert in is a mystery, but we’re sure glad we did. Both the Green Tea Cake and Key Lime Pie capped off our epic evening with an abundance of deliciousness. The green tea cake — topped with crumbled white chocolate stones — kicked our diets while they were down, while the key lime pie took us on a pleasureful ride to the other side of the flavor spectrum with its tartness; both are fitting endings to your meal — it just depends what you’re in the mood for.
We’re happy to see SOHO Bay back in action after all that unfortunate construction. While it’s still a little tough getting through all the street work that remains, you’ll be handsomely rewarded with some quality Japanese/Brazilian fare if you brave the roadways. And we strongly suggest you do.