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Jan 7, 2010 06:49 AM

Sakaya Kitchen - Midtown Miami

Finally had a chance to go last night. Fast food place with healthy Asian is the concept. Menu is divided into appetizer type dishes, rice dishes and noodles. Latter two are basically build your own (first place I've seen where pork is more expensive than shrimp). Tried egg rolls which were decent, filling was light and dip sauce was good, but $4 for two is a lot. Had to try Korean style chicken wings. Flavor was good but since they arrived in a box they got a little soggy and $7 for 4 is pretty steep. Finally had ginger scallion noodles with galbi (marinated short rib). Seems similar to recipe in Momofuku cookbook. Noodles were good but addition of short rib was a joke and the add'l $5 meant four meager pieces of meat (bone attached). $12 for that dish.

You pretty much get the recurring theme here, food is tasty but prices are way out of whack. Also, serving food in to go boxes (i) makes eating noodles difficult as the leaves of the boxes stick out every which way and (ii) fried items served in closed boxes start steaming and get soggy. We'll see how they make out.

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  1. thanks for the report, lax2mia

    1. Thanks for report as well....I went a couple nights ago down from NYC to escape cold weather...bad idea! Went with a group so we were able to try many things from the menu and some Sake. I had the eggrolls which I also thought they were good and happy to see the dipping sauce is not some sort of sweet sludge from a bottle, plus the absence of cabbage is nice. Tried the short ribs with the combo though (jasmine rice, etc) and the meat was very tasty. The price was about $9 dollars and you Miami peeps must be spoiled because $9 for galbi short ribs is pretty cheap. I actually had them during my stay at Sra Martinez and they were about double the price for Tapas and less. We had the chinese ribs with orange and they had great flavor but a little on the sweeter side for me but most of the group thought they were great. We had the Korean Chicken wings (6 for $4.69 actually) and the flavor was good and were ate first so still crispy. BTW the box did get a little difficult to eat out of (rice) and we asked for share plates and they did not have them so we got more empty boxes. Kind of strange but we dealt with it, they reminded of the boxes from wholefoods takeout. Miso soup had good flavor and was hearty and sort of perfect for the cold weather. It came in a plastic containter more like a chinese takeout. We had the noodle dish with grilled pork (pork is actually pork belly which I was told when I asked what does "pork" mean) The girl at the counter said it is "cured in house and is sort of like a thick cut of bacon." It had good flavor and mixed well with the noodles. They were different then Momofuku ( i love momofuku noodle bar) for sure but very similiar to the classic china town scallion ginger noodle. Menu is a bit small but the consensus was the food was done well and tasty. The prices seemed good for organic to us and what we were eating. Overall a good experience and I wish them the best.

      1. I picked up takeout from Sakaya Kitchen this evening. Standout item for me were the pork buns. I liked the flavor of the Korean chicken wings, the marinade had really infused throughout, but like you I feel I can't address the crispy/soggy question because they travelled 10 minutes in a take-out box. I thought the "combo" which included 6 wings, jasmine rice, kimchi (really liked their kimchi by the way) and pickled cucumbers for about $7.50 was a perfectly fine value. I believe they may have tweaked their pricing some since you visited L2M.

        More of my thoughts here ->

        2 Replies
        1. re: Frodnesor

          I've been back a couple of times and noticed the changes. The menu has been simplified (gone are many of the offerings to accompany noodles, now just tofu, chicken or shrimp) which I usually relate to the place focusing on doing a few things well vs. a lot of things mediocrely (sp). I'm hooked on the noodles. Don't know why, I just am. I'm disappointed though with the additions. The chicken, which I believe is grilled breast, is sliced and laid on top of the noodles, almost as an afterthought. The chicken and noodles don't meld together. Instead it's a plate of noodles with chicken on top. Also looks like the jumbo wings have been taken off the menu. Those were one of my peeves as far as price went (but they were good). Solution to eating out of the boxes is take-out, which is what I've done the last couple of times.

          Glad to see they're focusing the menu and fine-tuning their dishes. I enjoyed the pork buns (think it's roast pork, not pork belly though). And who'dve thunk. A few weeks ago we had no roast pork buns to speak of, now there's two places w/i walking distance with good roast pork buns (the ones at Sugarcane, w/ pork belly and apple kimchi are ridiculously good). Our little dining destination is growing up!

          1. re: lax2mia

            When I initially wrote my comments on the pork buns I had a question mark by "belly." Not sure if it survived to the final edit, as I may have convinced myself that's what it was.

            Sounds like I'll have to try Sugarcane as well.

        2. Got to eat lunch on-site today and the wings are crispy. All the prices were under $10 and, while I initially felt like prices were $1 or so high, when compared to similar fast-casuals like Chicken-Kitchen or Qdoba, etc., there's no comparison. Food was really good at that price point. We tried the aforementioned wings, as well as the ribs (similar to a honey-garlic sauce), and the buns. We really liked everything but found the wings and ribs to be a little too sweet. Kimchee, for kimchee fans, was properly funky. We'll be going back and often.

          1. Dined there for the first time on Friday night and found it interesting, generally good but a little uneven. Two of us split egg rolls ( regular as they were out of the kimchee variety) which were tasty, but a little greasy and the accompanying dipping sauce too salty. We then had the pork buns, which are made with slow-roasted pork shoulder in a spicy sauce and pickles. These were very good but nowhere near Momofuku quality, the pork belly makes all the difference. For entrees we had the honey glazed ribs and beef bulgogi. The ribs alone merit a return visit, they were falling off the bone but somehow kept a crips exterior. The glaze was a bit cloying, but they were so perfectly cooked it seemed unimportant. The beef was very good as well, but the take-out containers made it uncomfortable to prepare as lettuce wrap. The meal cost around $35, though it's not a huge quantity of food, as portions are modest, it was sufficient. I found their concept a little strange, since it's trying to be fast food (everything in take-out containers, self serve drinks, clean up your own table) but at the same time prices are bit high and since all the food is prepared to order you get the dishes staggered, requiring multiple trips back to the counter to pick your stuff up. The owners seem nice and the chef is obviously talented (worked under Jean-Georges at Vong), they just need to work out some kinks. Will certainly visit again and recommend.

            2 Replies
            1. re: juanlb

              Thanks for the feedback Juan. . .you described the ribs perfectly.

              1. re: Icantread

                We tried it Sunday night, and generally really liked it. My only complaint was that most things were too sweet, especially the salad dressing. I really like the attention to using high quality ingredients. This is why their prices may be a little higher than other fast food concepts. I also don't mind eating out of the boxes at all, I think it's great that they are using highly degradable materials. We will definitely return.