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Feb 8, 2009 07:47 AM

Shiso (sushi in miami beach)

Just popped in to this new Sunset Harbor sushi spot on Friday night for a drink as we'd eaten already and found it to be cozy with a good neighborhood vibe. I have to say I was excited to try the place simply thinking, because of the name, Shiso, they'd have some interesting menu items that included this delicious leaf. I've enjoyed Shiso leaves in the past in Japanese restaurants when they've come as a functional garnish, by wrapping them around a roll or piece of sashimi. They have a delicious, fragrant, herbal flavour and a fuzzy texture. I believe their inclusion on dishes with raw fish are similar to that of pickled ginger in that they can sterilize bacteria the raw fish may have. Anyway, the rest of our group, who were eating, ordered mainly rolls which looked good and most came accompanied by a creamy dip but no shiso leaves. So, I ordered the only menu item that included the leaf, Tempura Shiso Leaves. They were a dissappointment. The cooking process eliminated all of the lovely flavour and texture unfortunately. I tried to order just a couple of raw leaves for the table to sample but the restaurant wanted to charge the same price as the tempura for just a couple of raw leaves so we declined. A small dissappointment. The miso soup, seaweed salad and various rolls were good according to the table.

Regarding beverages, Shiso has Sake cocktails, beer and wine only. The beers interested me especially as their selection of both bottled and draft seemed well-chosen. We really enjoyed our Delirium (a Belgian pale ale) which you don't find everywhere, for $7 a bottle.

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  1. I also have a catnip-like relationship with shiso; the smell and taste of it just make me happy. Agree too that cooking in any manner seems to be a waste, loses the flavor. Surprising that a restaurant named after the stuff wouldn't be using it more. In fact, the biggest surprise to me is that they aren't using it in their drinks (at least bsaed on the drinks menu I pulled up here) ->
    Given the flavor and aroma that lie somewhere around mint / basil, I would think a shiso mojito would be pretty tasty (even if made w/ sake, as it appears they don't have full liquor license). And the name is a natural - shisojito.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Frodnesor

      I coudn't agree more regarding the use of the leaf in drinks. Unfortunately, I can only take these oversights, on the part of the restaurant, as a sign that their heart's not in it. They have a really cute spot there and I hope they don't give up their chance to succeed by letting the food and drink slide in quality and creativity while getting caught up in their own vibe.

      1. re: Frodnesor

        Glad to find some shiso lovers here!

        A couple of times when I visit a good Japanese restaurant, I will order a squid sushi and ask them to use shiso leaves. Over here as not many people are used to the taste of the leave, squid sushi are usually prepared with a strip of seaweed wrapped around. But take out the seaweed sheet and insert a piece of shiso between the rice and squid... divine...

        Shiso w sphagetti is delicious too.

        The Japanese grocery store on the 79th causeway do at times carry it.

      2. you can get delirium at the room

        2 Replies
        1. re: tpigeon

          I visited again. They expanded their menu and I believe lowered their prices somewhat. Food is equivalent to sushi samba. Ironically, you can get delirium tremens at shiso for $7/bottle, so the drinks are not all outrageous :). They have improved and I recommend them now, but it is small so you may need to make reservations if you go on a weekend.

          1. re: tpigeon

            just make sure they get the reservation right and that they dont try to move you later. see my experience with that below.
            the prices are very reasonable and normal both for drinks and rolls. The ingredients and all fruits used in the drinks are fresh and tasty. they have a good variety of sake for a Miami sushi spot and Frederico (server) is knowledgeable and patient and will take his time explaining each drink and ingredient

        2. btw I think the vibe is a bit pretentious for my tastes. I felt I was not cool enough to be there the one time I went, there were 3 people wearing sunglasses at night...

          4 Replies
          1. re: tpigeon

            I went Friday night at around 930 and the place was empty. That said, the vibe was very cool. The best thing on the menu was the Truffle Edamame...lots of it, big flavor and only $5 . A great snack. As for the rest--we had spicy tuna, yellowtail jalapeno and arare shrimp roll...they were fine, but not fab. The tuna was delicious. Beer and wine only. I'd go back, sit at the bar and eat edamame.

            1. re: HabaneroJane

              I agree about sitting at the bar and the Truffled Edamame. See below my RT of earlier post on Shiso:
              My friends and I went to celebrate my belated bday and had a mixed bag experience. She had called to make reservations, and the night before the actual rez they called her to ask where she was. She proceeded to confirm it was for the following night, as the person on the phone asked everyone (w/out putting her on hold) where the rez book was.

              The decor of the place is warm and inviting and an eclectic mix of Mexican art and large iron chandeliers with brick walls & warm glow lighting, reminiscent of boston, sao paulo or some little place in a sophisticated but living room -like comfortable corner somewhere. The music was loungy, brasilian jazzy and perfect for the place.

              We loved the drinks, and unlike other posts, found them reasonable or even below other S beach spots.

              We did HATE the fact that the generous and wonderful server, Frederico, had to ask us to move from our "couchy" lounge table to a hard 4 top w/ benches (we were 5) bc they were expecting a party of 20 that had specifically requested the table we were at. We obliged, only to see that the party of "20" arrived almost 1 hour late, and were not 20, but 4, then 5 or 6 (same as our group). We reached an agreement that someone in the "20" were friends w the bar tender, and were getting favored. It was extremely rude and made for some frustration, which we chose to spin towards humor and laughter.

              our new spot had some water dripping due to the AC above, and one of our friends asked for a Tuna Poke and an umbrella. It lightened up our moods and we proceeded to enjoy giving them a hard time due to their lack of professionalism and hospitality. I ordered a bottle of sake and was reminded that it was a 720 ML, which I responded saying, that I was going to share it with my "20" new friends that took our spot.

              I will say that the food ALL took over 1 hour. We ordered all RAW, or rolls and I am not sure how it could possibly have taken that long. The portions were very small, but original, fresh and beautifully presented and tasty. We all shared the Eel Coconut Roll (topped w/ fresh shredded coconut), Spicy Tuna & shrimp tempura roll. All were good. The Tuna Poke did not come out w the rest and took at least another 35 mintues. We were told (and the server apologized again) that the chef was alone as his sous chef had quit a few days before and walked out.
              Regardless, the wait was excessive. I was temped to offer to jump behind the bar and slice & dice my own Tuna Poke.
              Towards the end of our meal, we did get a nice apology from one of the owners, who sent over a complimentary sake and split of champagne. I felt they tried to make up for the several "mistakes" in service.

              We laughed quite a bit about the entire experience and made the best of it. I would only recommend this place if you have lots of patience, or if you are up for chilling out and just having a few drinks. Make sure to request the "lounge" when you make reservations, and dont, i mean DO NOT be fooled into moving bc a large party is coming.

            2. re: tpigeon

              Haha! I love it!

              I've never been to Shiso, but is it very hard to get/grow a good plant in Miami?
              Midmit is correct that antibacterial properties with the fish is traditionally associated with shiso, as with ginger and it is an integral part of the modern sushi tradition.

              1. re: tpigeon

                tpigeon: I totally disagree with the vibe. I felt that for S beach it was very laid back and local. no pretension at all.

              2. Im a huge fan of the shiso leaf. Love it with uni sashimi for my "dessert" at a sushi joint. I like the idea of the shisojito, Frod haha. I believe the shiso leaf gives your chi a nice golden glow. :)