Bond Street Lounge - sushi
Prompted by a "top sushi in Miami" query, we visited Bond Street tonight for the first time. I was pretty darn impressed. Despite the clubby feel, they take their fish pretty seriously. Unfortunately, the price is pretty steep.
It's a shorter menu than a traditional Japanese place, with a not-encyclopedic but still decent selection of fish (I vastly prefer this to someplace that keeps things on the menu that won't stay fresh), about a half dozen salad / tartare / fish carpaccio type items, about a half dozen cooked apps, and a few other things (some skewered teriyaki meats and fish, a few cooked entrees). Also had a list of probably at least a half dozen specials.
We tried several items, both sushi and not - yellowtail belly, amberjack, and salmon nigiri; spicy tuna roll, spicy yellowtail roll; spicy crispy shrimp; and a special of lemon shiso cured salmon with cucumber noodles.
The nigiri was very good quality. Sizes here are appropriate - you can actually fit a piece into your mouth in one bite without contorting or choking. The menu prices are listed with 2 pieces per order, but be forewarned that two pieces here are probably roughly the size of what most people are accusomed to seeing as one piece. The nigiri were also generously, though appropriately, dosed with wasabi. No added wasabi needed. The maki were not quite anything to write home about - decent but not great. The yellowtail roll was topped with little pieces of fried shallot, an interesting touch.
The shrimp were yet another variation on the famous creamy spicy shrimp at Nobu. Here they used regular shrimp, not rock shrimp, and they were tossed in a chipotle aioli and served aside a nice little salad of baby greens tossed with a calamansi vinaigrette. For this kind of item I prefer the texture of the rock shirmp, but the flavors were great with the chipotle adding a nice slightly smoky kick - and the dressed greens were perfect. The lemon and shiso cured salmon sounded great, but unfortunately the fish really didn't pick up much of the flavors.
Not quite satisfied, I asked for another 6 pieces of nigiri of the chef's choosing. A really interesting assortment came back - tuna topped with a little dollop of caviar and gold leaf; a shrimp which had been marinated briefly in some type of vinaigrette; fluke with a little bit of spicy fish roe; octopus which had been given a marinade or brush of some tasty sauce (some of the most tender octopus sushi I've ever had); one item I'm blanking on; and seared beef (didn't think this would be my thing, but it was quite good). All were very good.
The only big drawback, as previewed above, was the price. Nigiri prices range from about $7 - 10 for 2 pieces (except for toro) but you will probably end up ordering about twice as much as you may be accustomed to because of the appropriately mouth-sized portions. We probably spent close to $50 a head (without drinks, before tip) which is pretty steep for sushi.
A word should be said about the atmosphere. It is very much a clubby place. We sat at the bar (which is always fine by me) rather than sit on a goofy little tuffet at a cocktail table. At about 8 pm there was still plenty of room but over the next hour it got pretty filled up and elbow room could be at a premium.
Though pricy, I thought the food was high quality and would definitely go back for a sushi fix.
Frod...you say this place was steep, is it as steep as NOBU? And if so, wouldn't you rather spend your hard earned dough at a place named after a highly acclaimed chef with a world famous partner (Robert Dinero), than a place named after a street nobody has ever even heard of down here? Where the hell is the "Bond St" anyway? Over priced sushi in a clubby atmosphere doesn't exactly conjure up scenes from a Tokyo sushi parlour in my mind. I may have to put this place on the back burner and live vicariously through your very adept description, thanks again for correctly guiding me and the rest of the FLA CHowhound nation....you are a true giant.
Net - I've never done just sushi at Nobu so it's difficult for me to compare but I suspect Nobu is still significantly higher. The prices on prepared apps and the like are infinitely more reasonable than Nobu - all well under $20, whereas at Nobu everything pretty much starts at $20 and goes up from there. And it doesn't make it taste any better that Robert Deniro is making a vig on my sushi!
As for highly acclaimed chef, etc. - if Nobu Matsuhisa has set foot in the Miami Beach kitchen more than 5 times I would be astonished. Not to knock the place, which I think is quite good, but his contribution was to create the menu. I was intrigued to see that the executive chef at Bond St., Hiro Asano, is a Chiba native and a graduate of the Yukio Hattori School of Nutrition (if you're an Iron Chef watcher you'll know him as "Doc"). Of course I don't know if this guy is working the sushi station every night either.
Bond Street is downstairs in the Townhouse Hotel on 20th & Collins. A lot of the old Miami Beach hotels have these sort of funky, dark downstairs spaces and in a certain way it actually does feel a bit like a Tokyo sushi parlor (as I imagine it of course, not having actually been). And the name comes from the original location in New York, where there is, in fact, a Bond Street on which the restaurant is located.
I did not love the loungy feel of the place and the prices were a bit high (though raw fish is not somewhere where I go bargain hunting), but given the lack of decent options on the Beach this place certainly fills a void.
Went there when I was in Miami because I love the Bond St. Sushi in NY. The Miami one was horrible compared to the NY one - the food was bad, the service was horrible, and they added all these weird charges so a bill that I expected to be $200 was $300. Save yourself a terrible time and go to Nobu or Sushi Samba when in Miami.
I have been disappointed by the sushi at SushiSamba multiple times and just don't go back anymore. The Brazilian fusion menu is somewhat intriguing though I've not tried much of it - but the subject was sushi anyway.
The chef at Bond St. left a few months ago to go to Abokado in Mary Brickell Village - I've not been back to Bond St. since the change.
I might be more inclined to go to Nobu for sushi if they actually had a sushi bar. I've never understood that particular design decision.
Good luck with nobu. Personally, my experience there was less than flattering. We ordered up the place, thinking after all the raves I simply could not go wrong. Their rock shrimp weren't anything special (had them before and better), the fish was ok, decent quality but again, not worth it to me. I have had better expensive sushi in China Grill. I am sad I did not get the opportunity to have it in Bond Street prior to the current chef's migration to Abokado.