Friday, March 15, 2013


You know I have a love affair with Japanese food, right? And yes I know I have several affairs going on at the same time but why settle for one type of cuisine when you live in a foodie haven like Miami? A good friend of mine recently visited a place in Midtown for lunch and immediately tweeted up a storm. "You have got to try this place in Midtown! It's amazing!" Well, you don't have to tell me twice. Within a week, I was headed over to Machiya, located at 3252 NE 1st Avenue, Suite 116 for a relaxing lunch.

Talk about a Ramen good time! Machiya offers a fusion of contemporary and traditional Japanese dishes, specializing in their signature, homemade ramen bowls. The decor is modern and sleek with rustic accents, providing an upscale yet comfortable setting.  If you want to enjoy the Miami weather, Machiya also offers a colorful outdoor seating area complete with a red carpet to make you feel extra special.

Red Lotus
Crab Avocado Salad
Although it was around noon, I figured if it's 5:00 p.m. in Italy, who can tell me a cocktail would be inappropriate?  I told my server I liked sweet drinks and she suggested I try the Red Lotus. Oh yeah, thank you for that suggestion! It was made with Hanger One Vodka, Lychee Water, St. Germain and fresh blackberries. After a couple of refreshing sips, I took a look at the menu. Their menu is very extensive featuring small plates to share, soups and salads, sushi rolls, ramen, and signature dishes. I decided I'd sample something from each section so I started with the Crab Avocado Salad. This was absolutely my favorite. It was a delicious mix of crab meat, avocado, mayo and masago with a sliver of blood orange on top. The texture was creamy, yet the rice pops provided an unexpected surprise to the palate. I loved the element of sweetness casually added to the dish and it combined well with the crab and avocado.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Hokkaido Ramen
Fixings for the Ramen
Next up, I tried the Chicken Lettuce Wraps from the Share Plates section of the menu. I heard they were popular and very tasty. Indeed, they were. The filling was a flavorful mix of ground chicken with toasted  peanuts, chili, garlic and sweet tamarind sauce. I prepared a few crisp lettuce wraps and ate the rest with a spoon. After that treat, I moved down the menu and ordered one of their Ramen selections. I'm normally not a fan of noodles but when I read they had one that involved the pork broth but included seafood, I went for it. It was Hokkaido Ramen, consisting of the original hot silky "tonkotsu" (pork) noodles soup topped with scallop, king crab meat, shrimp, calamari, spicy bean sprout, corn, garlic oil and scallion. I was very impressed. It's a definite must-have at Machiya.


Tuna Tartare
Lollipop Tuna
There were several signature dishes that sounded appetizing and after pondering over them for a few minutes, I ordered the Volcano. This was a roll-style dish made with crispy sushi rice and topped with a mix of scallop, kani, masago, spicy mayo, baked dynamite tempura flakes, and cream cheese . It had a nice balance of bold flavors and textures. Over on the Sashimi Special section of the menu, I spotted my all-time hands-down favorite: Tuna Tartare, and I don't care that I was about to have to unbutton my top button, I had to have it. Out came a delicious cylinder of fresh yellow fin tuna seasoned with chili oil, and topped with wasabi tobiko, and blood orange.  It was served with sea-salted potato chips which complemented the tartare with their salty profile and crunchy texture. I sat back for a minute, and my server came to refill my glass. I had managed to taste something from just about every part of the menu and I was proud. But then I realized, I hadn't sampled a roll. She wouldn't have it so she convinced me to try the Lollipop Tuna. OK, so she really didn't have to do much convincing since I was dying to try it. I saw it wasn't made with rice and figured I was actually doing a good thing because I was saving carbs. Like the other dishes at Machiya, the presentation was absolutely beautiful and dynamic. Avocado and tuna were wrapped with cucumber skin and a lollipop. In the center, a creamy machiya sauce sat like a work of art, inviting me to dip each one. The question is, how many bites does it take to get to the bottom of a Lollipop Tuna? Not too many it seems, when you're The Foodaholic.

Of course I am not a bottomless pit so I did have some leftovers and I was very excited to take them home and indulge in a repeat performance of Machiya's cuisine that evening for dinner. I will definitely be returning very soon because I got my eye on some other dishes that I have to try and I truly loved the superb service and ambiance. Another great thing about this place is that they offer a weekly lineup of specials that you can't go wrong with. For example, Ladies Night is on Wednesdays, where ladies drink complimentary Chardonnay or Cabernet with the purchase of an appetizer from 7:00 p.m. to closing (now you know where I'll be) and Mondays feature $1 Sakes or $1 Sapporo. For more information, visit them online at or call them at 786-507-5025.

Machiya on Urbanspoon

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