Hiro’s Yakko-san: Harboring Fine Izakaya Fare in North Miami

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Restaurant Sign Miami

Hiro's Yakko-San is located near the Intracoastal Waterway and Dumfoundling Bay.

On the fringes of a residential neighborhood in North Miami Beach, Hiroshi Shigetomi’s izakaya is turning out Japanese comfort food on a level I’ve never found in Los Angeles. Hiro named his North Miami Beach strip mall restaurant for a light-hearted kabuki clown. Though not a sushi restaurant, Hiro and his staff approach local seafood with surgical precision, and the meat dishes receive similar attention. Based upon the five dishes I ate, Hiro’s Yakko-san is a late contender for meal of the year.

When I asked our waiter how old the restaurant was, he referred us to a stalk of bamboo in a vase on the counter, which held seven rings, one for each year of life. 2000.

Hiro’s Yakko-san houses several tables, but we sat at the bar to watch three chefs preparing dishes from an encyclopedic menu, plus nightly specials. We were mesmerized watching one man in particular carved fresh fillet fillets with tremendous skill.

Restaurant Miami

A pig statue in chef’s whites and toque adheres to a well-proven rule of comedy: animals in people clothes are funny.

Japanese Food Miami

Our “Japanese tapas” meal began with a complimentary dish of soba salad, which was basically cole slaw mixed with nutty buckwheat noodles, julienned carrots, cabbage and mayo.

Japanese Food Miami

From the regular menu, we ordered Ika Maruyaki ($8). The simply prepared grilled whole squid with ginger-flecked soy sauce was the height of cephalopod cookery, cross sections of tender abdomen and fin meat, plus a pile of arms with crispy suckers.

Japanese Food Miami

Chicken Liver Itane ($6) featured lightly-breaded chicken liver nuggets, chives and bean sprouts, stir-fried in a light brown sauce to perfection.

Japanese Food Miami

Spicy Lamb Steak ($9) featured on-the-bone lamb shoulder cooked with a sauce that combined red chili pepper, sake and soy. There was a central vein of fat, but it was easily trimmable, yielding tender, flavorful meat.

Japanese Food Miami

A large list of daily specials appeared in marker on a triptych of white dry-erase boards. We ordered Tile Fish Ginger and Scallion ($13.50) – pan fried filet in a light brown sauce. The luscious flesh was infused with “brown sauce ” and accented with julienned ginger, scallions and cilantro.

Fish Miami

Our waiter brought a silver tray out to us holding several orange-skinned fish, plus other fish of the day like tile fish, wahoo and grouper.

We chose a hog fish from the bottom of the pan that our waiter said had good eyes and flesh. After retreating to the kitchen, he returned a moment later to announce that our fish weighed 22 ounces. Whole Fish are available deep fried, grilled, nitsuke-style or steamed. Our server recommended that we have it prepared nitsuke style, cooked with sweet brown sauce.

Japanese Food Miami

Hog Fish ($1.25 per ounce) was startlingly good, with luscious chunks of snapper pulling easily from the bone and caramelized skin.

The fish was so addicting that I wanted to devour the whole thing. Thanks to my technical skill with chopsticks, I was able to pull incredible sweet nuggets from the fish’s cheek and succulent tongue, which I found behind tiny, sharp teeth. I even ate an eyeball, which was a lot like a pencil eraser. Fins were crispy and caramelized. The fish was topped with a small pile of julienned scallions, which added crisp texture. There were also two luscious squares of caramelized eggplant and two squares of tofu, which were creamy and soaked up the brown sauce.

We didn’t think any dish could top the hog fish, so we ended our meal pre-dessert. Unfortunately, Hiro was taking the night off. Otherwise, I would have subjected him to a serious show of Hiro worship. Without a doubt, this was the best meal of my week South Florida eating tour, and a contender for meal of the year.

Hiro’s Yakko-san: Harboring Fine Izakaya Fare in North Miami


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

[…] am … Mail (will not be published) (required) Website. Your Comment. Subscribe with email. Want …Food GPS Hiro’s Yakko-san North Miami Beach – November 25 …AshD, April 8, 2009: This authentic Japanese restaurant serves up fresh, legitimate Japanese dishes […]

This authentic Japanese restaurant serves up fresh, legitimate Japanese dishes in a comfortable, cozy atmosphere. They do not serve Sushi, but do have a full sashimi bar… that being said, the Maguro Natto is great! Fresh Tuna sashimi over white Japanese radish and a bed of seaweed and scallions, topped with miso sauce … Great, cool, fresh Sashimi perfect for a hot Miami night.

Deep Fried Bok Choy – Yakko San – Miami

The shrimp tempura was beautiful, light, and crisp! No complaints!
However, the dish that blew me away, something that I have never had in a Japanese restaurant in New York, was the Crispy Bok Choy… AMAZING… I could eat this every day for breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner… The dish consists of heads of bok choy that are deep fried for 2 seconds, and then topped with a garlic soy dressing… a verbal description will not do justice… The leaves are paper thin and crispy, and the warm, sweet/salty/slightly spicy/garlicy soy dressing makes the bok choy taste like an Asian veggie chip! Deep Fried guilt never registers because you are eating a leafy green vegetable! Added Bonus!


Good commentary. Seems like you have a solid site and keep busy. Next time I’m in Miami, I’ll be sure to e-mail about some local recs.

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