Sushi Joe, Doral FL

Shusei-san making sushi at Sushi Joe

Shusei-san (Joe) making sushi

Rating: ★★★★½
Sushi Joe
9557 Northwest 41st Street
Doral, FL  33178

Sushi Joe is a hidden treasure in a vast sea of mediocrity that is the mainstream US sushibar scene today. In an unassuming strip mall in Doral, Florida we found this cross-cultural modern bastion of interpretive sushi run by the humble sushi master called simply by his nickname – Joe.

Joe understands the core concepts of classic sushi – freshness, seasonal fare, and local ingredients. You can get fresh, perfectly made nigirizushi from Joe with an absolute assurance of consistency. And we adore sushi chefs who enjoy explaining where the food came from when asked. It shows that they care.

Frankly I’ve been as happy as a (surf) clam consuming his small but perfectly formed nigiri topped with perfectly cut neta. He’s a picky guy when it comes to uni too, personally taste testing every box before purchasing, so ordering uni is always a good choice here. And yes, great prices, friendly service and clean restaurant are all contributing factors.

Tonkatsu Ramen is fabulous!

Tonkatsu Ramen is fabulous here!

Classic Japanese fare is recommended here as well. They have some homemade tonkatsu ramen that is a match for any we’ve ever encountered on this side of the Pacific, including so-called specialty ramen shops! Not to diminish the other food, but one of your first few trips there must include a hot dish from the kitchen; it’ll probably be made from scratch even if it’s miso shiro!

Now the conventional interpretation of localization holds that a sushi master will feature local ingredients by using them in classic sushi themes. Modern sushi often interprets classical sushi ideas in a local cultural context though, and that’s evident at Sushi Joe.

Sushi Joe is in Doral, a town with a large Venezuelan population in Miami, a city with a vibrant Cuban-American culture. And you can see those influences asserted in the Sushi Joe menu. Joe uses ingredients like plantains, guava jelly and more, alongside the old school Japanese staples like burdock and panko to make this happen. These items tend to be less appealing to me than my usual faves, but that hardly matters.

Want to see what happens when you immerse a smart clued-in sushi chef in a completely different culture? It’s well worth the drive!

Rating: ★★★★½

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