Chef Makoto Okuwa brings over 20 years of culinary experience and a very visible passion for food to the table. He trained for 10 years in Japan, studying traditional Japanese cuisine until he mastered it to perfection. With his adroit techniques and fresh takes on traditional dishes, Okuwa has cemented his Japanese restaurant, Makoto, as one of Miami’s favorite sushi eateries. Restauranteur Stephen Starr teamed up with Okuwa to make the concept a reality in 2011, with the stylish contemporary interior design done by French design team Gilles & Boissier.

My guest and I slid into our booth in the refined dim-lit restaurant and tasted our first dish of the evening: Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice, Makoto’s signature appetizer. The four small blocks of the crispy rice were golden on the sides, and with a generous portion of smooth tuna on top. The tuna was soft and had a paste-like consistency that allowed for that melt-in-your-mouth effect. There was also a delightful spicy kick that was due to the serrano chili. If I had access to these 24/7, they’d definitely be one of my favorite snacks!

For my entrée, I had some fun with the Wagyu Hot Stone. Thin slices of Wagyu beef topped with cilantro were brought to my table, accompanied by a sesame-shisho soy dipping sauce and a hot river stone to cook with. I marinated the Wagyu in the sauce and then watched in awe as it sizzled and cooked on the stone. The savory meat was bursting with the flavors of the faultlessly paired sesame sauce. Up next was the Miso Sea Bass, which is marinated for 48 hours with Miso paste and then grilled, drizzled with plum sauce, and served with scrumptious crispy kale. The fish was irresistibly delicate and honeyed—a rewarding entrée that was gone in seconds!

Makoto seems to follow a theme of hot and cold throughout their menu; they even organize their appetizers this way. The same playfulness with temperature was deliciously present in my dessert: The Toban Yaki. A warm almond cookie crumble occupies the bottom of the dish, while a handful of fresh fruit, dollops of passion fruit-white chocolate, and an icy scoop of mango sorbet are presented on top. The result is a fusion of hot and cold, fruity and nutty, silky sorbet and crunchy cookie. When you dine at Makoto, make sure to indulge in this lovely treat! This restaurant is a shining star in the world of sushi, dessert, and beyond.


By Aaliyah Pasols