Get Bougie at Sushi by Bou

A SPEAKEASY-STYLE LUXURY SUSHI EXPERIENCE AWAITS YOU ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE FAMED VILLA CASA CASUARINA, ALSO KNOWN AS THE “VERSACE MANSION.”

Walk past the black front gates of the Villa Casa Casuarina and prance up the winding staircase to enter Gianni’s Suite: Gianni Versace’s former master bedroom suite turned swanky lounge and sushi bar. G-Lounge is where guests may wait before being led into Sushi by Bou, the timed 30-60 minute omakase experience. I sipped on Born Gold Sake while waiting to be called into the sushi bar, and relished in its light, sweet flavor. The G-Lounge feels posh and exclusive—there’s a fireplace, emerald couches, a balcony with a lovely view, and a self-service sake vending machine dubbed “Mr. Sake.”

Chef Ryo Kato

Finally, it was time! I was led into the intimate, charming room and seated at the 8-seat bar alongside other guests who had booked reservations for the evening. The Head Omakase Chef, Chef Ryo Kato, introduced himself and made sure to engage us in conversation throughout the hour, which made the close quarters feel more welcoming and comfortable. Kato is originally from Chiba, Japan and has over seven years of experience working in South Florida’s sushi spots like SushiSamba, Sushi Chef, and Myumi, an omakase food truck which he opened in 2015.

The omakase experience I booked was the 60-minute version, which consists of 17 courses of handcrafted nigiri. “Omakase” directly translated means “I leave it up to you” and that is exactly what happens during the dinner. The type of nigiri that is served is up to the chef’s discretion according to what ingredients he has available and what he decides to make, although a rough outline of what guests can expect is provided at the beginning. For the Spring Omakase Menu, treats like Hamachi, O-Toro, Japanese Uni, Hotate, Botan Ebi, and more were offered. Kato didn’t rigidly stick to the menu—I noticed a few nigiri pieces that weren’t listed on there, but all of them were top-quality, incredibly fresh and smooth, and precisely and intricately well-done. Some of the nigiri is cooked live using a butane torch, like the salmon, but most are served raw, placed on top of the vinegared rice, which allows the true flavor of each distinct fish to power through.

Ikura

As plate after plate is passed out, waitresses stop by to refill waters, replace utensils, and offer sake, cocktails, and anything else guests might desire. When the whole 60 minutes were over, I almost didn’t want to leave! The unique timed omakase dinner was something I will never forget. It makes for an interactive, personal experience with outstanding, fine nigiri, all in a dazzling, lavish setting. If you’re a sushi fan who loves all things bougie, this is your new spot!

1116 OCEAN DR., MIAMI BEACH | SUSHIBYBOU.COM

By Aaliyah Pasols