Maido Japanese Rest – Doral, FL

Nigirizushi at Maido

Nigirizushi at Maido

Rating: ★★★★½Maido Japanese Rest
4267 NW 107th Avenue, Miami, FL 33137
Phone: 305-592-4002

Maido is a little Japanese Izakaya located in Doral, FL run by a pair of great chefs – Hiroshi and Genya. Genya spent many years working at Matsuri in nearby Coral Gables before the team opened up Maido Japanese Restaurant in the location vacated by another sushi restaurant almost five years ago.

Genya, who hails from Kyoto, can usually be found running the kitchen, a key skill position in any izakaya. Hiroshi, who was raised in nearby Kobe, runs the front of the house including the sushibar and entertains the patrons. This division of labor is the secret to their success.

Bento box with sushi and sashimi

Bento box with sushi and sashimi

So how’s the food? Like any izakaya, there are specials written on menus hung on the wall. And like any izakayas worth going to, they have a nice assortment of premium sakes available. More on that later.

Their bento box offers a choice of two of four main items, and we tried the sushi and sashimi. It was good, but not great. The fish was nice, but our tai was cut a little weird. The miso soup and salad that came with the bento were quite ordinary. But the tempura was most enjoyable, and the veggies were sliced and battered and fried together in a bunch.

tonkatsu ramen at Maido

Unbeatable tonkatsu ramen at Maido

And just when we thought we’d had the best tonkatsu ramen in South Florida, we were shocked to find a new favorite. Ramen often has a tendency to be a bit too salty, but somehow Genya-san conjures up a perfect balance. You really could just drink the broth and be amazed, but that’s hardly recommended. The pork was just fatty enough to be full flavored but not excessively so, and cooked to absolute perfection.

Also from the menus hangin on the wall we tried the ebi gyoza. The shrimp is minced inside, and we thought it would be far better to dice the shrimp, so you could bite into chunks and really get the full taste which seemed to be a bit weak.

Rice is cooked right, tasty, packed perfectly!

Rice is cooked right, tasty, packed perfectly!

OK, izakaya or not, we’re always curious to see nigiri. And the few pieces that came with the bento box just were not enough, so we ordered the gorgeous plate of sushi shown above!

Now as nigirizushi goes, the rice is rarely done right. But in this case the tasty sushi rice was seasoned and perfectly tamped down into the right size blocks fro the amount of toppings. The sushi holds together just fine until melting in your mouth. Hiroshi-san is not afraid to apply a decent amount of wasabi either.

The tako was unusual in that instead of cutting a piece of normal thickness and scoring the outside, ours was cut very thin with a large amount of surface area, accomplishing the same goals – avoiding being rubbery and providing lots of area for soy sauce to adhere to.

traditional roll - hamachi and scallion

Traditional roll - hamachi and scallion

Our saba was a thick, generous cut. It was oily and delicious! The uni was fresh and creamy, with no hint of bitterness. We thought the tuna had a bit too much wasabi, it would have been nice to use a little less on this than the other neta. I didn’t get to taste it as I had hoped to. Much to his credit Genya actually knew that his tuna came from Ecuador.

The salmon was nice too, but another surprise awaited us in the ika. They served the squid on top of a piece of nori, which was in turn on top of the rice. The tai was cut a bit thicker than we like for both the sushi and the sashimi. It’s a light fish with a soft texture, but has a tendency to be a bit too chewy and less enjoyable when cut thick.

Hokkaido Junmai sake called Kitano Nishiki

Hokkaido Junmai sake - Kitano Nishiki

For beverage we chose a great little Hokkaido Junmai sake called Kitano Nishiki. Not too sweet for yours truly, but served ice cold it’s full bodied and thoroughly enjoyable. This is actually made from a top sake rice, Miyama Nishiki, a very starchy, thin shelled rice. Plenty of taste in the mouth and a great rice taste going down the hatch.

The service was excellent. Our waitress was surprisingly knowledgeable, and made great sugestions. She actually knew about the sake selections, which ones were sweeter or drier, the rice used to brew them, etc. Amazing! One thing we hope to see next time is low sodium soy sauce, they had none.

Overall Maido Japanese Restaurant is a place you must try. The menu is huge, which can be a little intimidating, considering there’s a fair amount posted on the whiteboards as well. But if you get a great waitress you can shortcut the decision-making process by simply asking about the offerings. Say hi to Hiroshi-san at the sushi bar when you visit!

Rating: ★★★★½

Maido Japanese
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