There’s More Than Meets The Eye At Pubbelly Sushi
A & I
PUBBELLY SUSHI, SUNSET HARBOUR
REVIEW BY RUSTY RYANN
There is actually more to the restaurant than one is first led to believe from all that word of mouth, Miami chin-wagging. It’s not just yet another sushi restaurant, in fact, Jose Mendin has composed a broad menu, that ventures into his unique imagination. Seemingly inspired by the Puerto Rican Chef’s many years working at world class Asian restaurants in both Miami and London, you can smell how the freedom of owning a restaurant has allowed him to fully unleash the culinary wonder that flows through his mind.
We stopped by for a late lunch and our meal included a dish from each of their obvious menu sections: Snacks, Robata Grill, Pubbelly Rolls and Vegetables, along with a dessert. A suitable quantity of food to share for two people. Two non-gluttonous people that is.
As the bass of popular culture music pulses in the background, the service is chill, and with each dish there’s an explanation given by the server, (which you’ll need with the detail Jose throws into each dish) and then you’re left alone to get on with it. The cocktails are for those with a sweet tooth, I find that their Japanese IPA’s complement the food much better.
The Baby Bok Choy has a warmth to it, a pang of spice, the garlic overwhelming, but in a good way, it lingers. They’re not stingy with its portion size, that is accompanied with an overflowing amount of juice. The Asian vegetable emits a vibrancy and a slight sweetness, adorned with golden garlic wafers. The slight oily sensation on my lips took me back to my time in Hong Kong, where through serendipity I discovered these dingy side street restaurants, the size of cupboards, where recipes must have been passed through generations, cooking the freshest and most delicious handcrafted Asian staples.
Before stopping by Pubbelly Sushi, I had a browse through Jose Mendin’s newest recipe book, Food Republic, it explains how his Butter Crab Roll is a crafty connotation of the lobster and crab rolls he eats while in NYC, his version keeps the same concept but injects Japanese elements. It’s weirdly very, very clever and hands down the best roll on the menu, eaten with your hands as you would a lobster roll, the creaminess and delicate richness of the crab roll is dipped into the soy and warm clarified butter ramekin offering a flavorsome sensation that leaves you craving more. If “I’ll have a Butter Crab Roll please.” doesn’t roll of your tongue when you’re ordering, for your own sake, please take a good, long, hard look at yourself in the mirror when you get home.
The Salt & Pepper Squid comes with a thick batter, of which the accompanying rich sauce I swapped with the Butter Crab Rolls’ clarified butter & soy dip, it’s just so inviting, it had to be done. The Chicken Yakitori is sweet, slides of the skewer and has a delicate, caramelised taste, enhancing the melt in your mouth sensation. Our shared dessert was the Coco Loco, served in a coconut. The streusel nicely blends in with the ice cream and there is a slight spice from the pineapple. A refreshing palate cleanser.
If I were to encapsulate Jose Mendin’s Pubbelly Sushi restaurant in just a few simple words, I’d say it’s very good, casual dining, in a room full of beautiful & trendy locals. As opposed to its counterpart Pubbelly, where you indulge in a full on dining experience, I’d call it ‘Pubbelly Lite’, it’s more informal, fun and you’ll spy a whole range of diners, from gym fanatics, to bloggers, photo snapping, Instagramming and taking food selfies. Now a days it’s as though the fashion is instead of just eating your food, you have a whole photoshoot, hire a hand model, debate over filters & hashtags and then, finally, that’s when you tuck into your food. Probably cold by then, but it’ll be worth it for those 52 likes.
With the restaurants foundations in the swanky Sunset Harbour neighbourhood, it’s one of those places where people go to be seen, yogi’s stroll past the promenade in their yoga gear (whether they actually go to the gym is debatable, sometimes I think the lycra is just for show) and if you choose to dine outside you’ll definitely spot one or two pert faux bottoms in the horizon. If people watching is your cup of tea, then Pubbelly Sushi will be right up your street, especially as the odd celebrity will most likely breeze by, probably on their way to Barry’s Bootcamp.
To wrap things up, I would please like for you to imagine me speaking through a mega-phone right now, ahem, “DO NOT BE BORING, VENTURE OUT EACH TIME YOU STOP BY AND TRY SOMETHING NEW!” It’s just so easy to conform and order the same thing, but with Chef Mendin’s imagination what would the point in that be?
Butter Crab Roll
Baby Bok Choy