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Yakko San N. Miami Beach Grand Re-Opening

We accidentally stumbled onto the grand opening of the new location - we've been away and I thought they'd moved already. We only ordered a handful of dishes ( had conservative teen-ager in tow; he found the octopus in the pancakes that I thought I could sneak into him ) and what we had was up to the old standards thank goodness, although there weren't the specials we looked forward to, but it was the first day, so I think they wanted to keep it simple.
That said, it's a very different experience. I congratulate them on the new digs; it's lavish compared with the old West Dixie place, and quite big. Long L shaped counter seating, full bar. The staff ( big staff ) was amazingly organized for an opening day, and very excited. They had drummers outside to celebrate. The place was packed. All good for them. I wish them the best. I just can't help feeling a little nostalgic for the old location; it had a charm and spirit that I will miss. Oh well; life is change. sigh.

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  1. Yeah but I bet parking was much easier. I heard they are doing sushi now. Did you try the sushi?

    1. The new space is great! I was there last night too, unaware it was opening night until the place got packed and the drummers started banging away outside. There is a cocktail bar with about 12-15 seats and then a HUGE sushi bar with about 20 or so seats further back. The menu is exactly the same as the old location with the addition of a full sushi menu. I didn't try the sushi but Chowfather did and said it was good. I had scallops/asparagus/shittake and some gyoza and then later the awesome triggerfish jerky, some crispy chicken gizzards, and my favorite - takoyaki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takoyaki). Everything was terrific. Hiro-san was really happy. The place was packed and service was solid. Parking was a breeze. Looking forward to more stops at this location and wishing them best of luck!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Blind Mind

        Very happy about their move and successful reopening - but I'm a little disappointed to hear about the addition of the full sushi menu. I understand why, but I suspect its absence tended to keep out the yahoos. We'll get there this weekend.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          That is exactly what I was thinking while setting there. The sushi menu is available for lunch as is a limited appetizer and noodle menu. Full menu is available from 3pm on. I tried the sushi out of curiosity and it was good but nothing special. Not in same league as Naoe or Sushi Deli at least not last night and not the Yakko 11 I had

          1. re: The Chowfather

            HIro was never great, not sure why Yakko would be at sushi. Glad to hear there other dishes remain great. Hope they bring back the specials soon.

      2. I was there on opening night as well, also just by coincidence, not for the opening itself. The food was definitely consistent, but I also missed the special menu (no crispy fish and onion salad, but a crispy pork and onion salad on the regular menu. Is that new? Maybe I just never noticed it.)

        I have to say, I really don't like the new space at all. Maybe I just miss the unassuming, smaller space, but the new restaurant now just feels like all those other too-shiny, too-loud, too-many-flat-screen-TVs sushi-Thai restaurants in Miami. Maybe I'm being too critical. I suppose I'll adjust, but I'm already less excited about eating there.

        1. I'm confused none of the posts gave a location this Friday I had a forgettable dinner ,nothing fresh ,tasty nor very Japanese ,probably
          Ly because save the sushi bar three were no Asians cooking,Iasked the waiter how long have they been at this place he said a year was I in the wrong Hiro ,this was on the 162 ST causeWay this place was a total disappointment

          2 Replies
          1. re: abigjudge

            There is "Hiro's Yakko-San," and there is also a restaurant close by called "Hiro". They are not affiliated. Just to be absolutely clear ->

            1 - The restaurant you visited is not Hiro's Yakko-San.

            2 - The street address for Hiro's Yakko-San is listed as 3881 NE 163rd St. Causeway. It's in the Intracoastal Mall, which is the last strip mall you see on the east end of the causeway before you hit the bridge. It has a movie theater on its west end, and the Intracoastal on its east end. Yakko-San is located on the long east-west stretch of the mall, right next to Old Navy.

            3 - "Hiro" is located further west on the Causeway, its street address is 3007 NE 163rd St.

            1. re: Frodnesor

              Thank you I have been so upset and bewildered that Hiro yak went so quickly down hill, it was like losing a .good friend

          2. I'm very appreciative that you all posted about the move. I went to the original location as part of an anniversary trip years ago, and are back in town for a few days. I learned about it originally from Chowhound, and know I can rely on this board for great recommendations! We went to the new location yesterday and had the best seaweed salad I've ever had. The service was quite absent...the servers milled around but ignored patrons, but the food did not disappoint.

            1. Went to Yakko San a month ago, had not realised they'd moved! To my great relief, I was informed that they had relocated, not closed down! Phew. The new place is in the mall just before the bridge, next to Old Navy.

              The evening I was there, July 3, around 6.30, the place was pretty empty even though the parking lot outside was pretty full and the other restaurants in the vicinity seemed to be be busy.
              I have to say we were very nostalgic - the new place is huge, and has a sports bar vibe that really jars with the menu. They even have a seating hostess near the door. and a cocktail bar! No more small intimate joint with staff chorusing a greeting as you entered and left, no more "the food is our focus" vibe.

              We chose to sit at the bar, primarily because we could then have our backs to the many TVs, and focus on the food. I counted 8 cooks behind the counter and lots of waiters milling around. The staff seems very multiethnic with just one Japanese face that DH thought he remembered from the old place. Most of the staff were watching the TVs.

              We had barely parked our butts on the bar stools when we were handed a gratis little cold appetiser of pasta strands, coarsely grated cabbage and carrot, in a light vinaigrette. The mixture was made and stored in a big container below the counter, and hauled out for every customer that came in. It seemed a very odd thing and didn't taste especially interesting, and we left ours after an initial taste.

              The menu seems way bigger than at the old place. The waiter handed us the menus, and I had to ask if there were any specials, which he mumbled his way through - difficult to hear because of the background noise from the TVs and the few patrons.
              Being wary about whether the food was still good, we ordered just a few dishes. And I'm happy to say that the miso sea-bass was perfectly done; so was the hamachi kama. Yum! We almost licked the plates. The fish guy that evening really knew his stuff and was busy, while some of the other cooks had their eyes glued to the TVs and were hanging about, waiting for the rush to begin.

              We decided to try the sushi, and got the crabroll and a couple of other types. The sushi arrived very quickly. However, the crabroll was bland and with just a tiny sprinkling of flying fish roe. The others were nothing special either.
              DH loves a simple bowl of udon soup with tempura shrimp, and he shared the 3 perfectly deep-fried shrimp with me. We also got the aubergine pork dish, and were not disappointed.

              So the old menu is still being executed well - I can't speak for the new items, and am a fan of old-school sushi, so can't speak for the sushi either.

              However, the ambience and service does not excel. Just before the food arrived, DH got a small plate put in front of him with a scrap of food on the side - he pointed it out and it was replaced, but no apology.
              And the service was pretty intrusive, with the waiter interrupting our conversation brutally several times - why could we not have a couple of seconds to finish a sentence? It's not like the place was heaving with customers. And why do the waiters absolutely have to serve from between a couple, when the rest of the bar is empty and it would be easier to serve from one side or both sides? I was seriously perturbed when the bowl of udon soup arrived, because one point it seemed like it would end in my lap, had DH not intervened and grabbed it.

              Finally, at one point we tried to make conversation with the fish guy, who could not hear us due ot the noise from the TVs. We were trying to find out the english name of Hamachi, but he had no idea, other than that it was an oily fish - he certainly knew how to cook it to perfection, though!.

              The place began filling up as we were getting ready to move on. Hopefully the many shoppers dropping in will keep Yakko-San in business for a long time, but I do hope the food quality does not suffer as business grows. I am not sure whether the prices have gone up as a result of the move.

              So would I return? Yes, definitely, for the food, but not so much for the ambience or service.

              3 Replies
              1. re: HaveSpoonWillCook

                We had some of the same reactions initially on our first visit to the new location (we go so often if it was kind of like coming home and finding someone had moved all your furniture) but they've been getting things back on an even keel since the move.

                First, I agree that the quality of the regular menu items are just as good, and the relocation really hasn't affected the kitchen much at all (other than that it is much larger and apparently much more deeply staffed). The menu seems much larger mostly because they have added a full selection of sushi and maki; they previously only had a fairly small sashimi selection available. Otherwise it's been rearranged some, but is mostly the same.

                They have finally put a couple specials boards up again. At first I think they stopped doing daily specials for a little while. Then they tried to have the waitstaff do them orally, which was being inconsistently observed. Now there are a couple boards up near the kitchen, and if you can't find them, ask your server and they'll tell you the specials (English skills may vary).

                I think they had brought in a bunch more staff for the first several weeks after the move, but now seem to have pulled back some and I see more of the "regulars" that I'm accustomed to (as well as a few new faces).

                I get the sense you've never eaten at the bar before. The gratis little appetizer is very typical, they often have a little vinegary noodle salad with a bit of crabmeat or sometimes a more mayo-y one that's a lot like a macaroni salad. Is it great? Not particularly. But it's free, and it's good with beer.
                Plate delivery at the bar can often be a little awkward too, the server always has to come from behind the diner and is usually just trying to place things so people can share.

                In any event, Yakko-San was never really a place to go to for the ambience or the service, which is not to say that they're not friendly and helpful - they always are - but just that it's not, and still isn't, a white-tablecloth place. It's also not gotten notably more expensive, even though they've clearly put a lot more money into the place than their old location.

                By the way, hamachi = yellowtail.

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  Thanks, Frodnesor, for the translation and tips.
                  Am looking forward to visiting again in a couple of weeks!

                  1. re: Frodnesor

                    Went on Saturday night and am really missing the expanded specials board from the prior incarnation. I asked about old favorites only to be met with an uncomfortable smirk of "No, sorry we don't have". No pork with bitter mellon, no whole tiny shrimp kara-age.
                    Ordered something off the board called the "Daily 6" which is a 6 compartment dish of 6 different raw/cold items (octopus poke, ceviche, etc.). Watching the dish being put together it seemed like way too labor intensive and time consumer for what ends up being a dish which, if shared by more than two people, will leave some S.O.L. due to portion size.
                    At the end of the day, I don't care about the new digs or the cocktail menu. I just want the specials back. We spoke to 3 waiters and none of them seemed encouraging when we asked about an expaned specials board. I was hoping to hear "Oh, we'll have that soon" or something to that effect but no such luck.

                2. Just remembered I took a copy of the menu when I left the last time, see attached.
                  This might be helpful for those who knew the old menu and are wondering what the changes are. If there are any new items on that are unmissable, please do post!