Saturday, August 27, 2016

Kaiseki Dinner at Pao with Paul Qui & Yoshi Okai (Otoko) 9.20.16

It's on!!! September 20, 2016 chef Yoshi Okai, executive chef of Otoko in Austin, Texas is taking his talents to Miami Beach.  Yoshi along with Paul Qui will create a kaiseki experience inspired by Yoshi’s home of Kyoto, Japan’s former capital city, at Pao by Paul Qui located at the Faena Hotel.

Otoko is a 12-seat Japanese restaurant by Paul, James Beard Foundation Award and Top Chef winner. The multi-course omakase experience at Otoko blends Tokyo-style sushi and Kyoto-style kaiseki into a unique tasting menu.   

A traditional kaiseki experience progresses from appetizers (sakizuke, zensai) to steamed (mushimono), fried (agemono) and grilled (yakimono) courses and ends with a hot pot soup (shirumono), fresh fruit (mizumono), and dessert (kanmi).

Yoshi was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan, where he was introduced to the culinary world at a young age through his family’s catering company. Because of his parents’ hectic work schedules, Okai and his three siblings were often responsible for cooking meals.

Okai was introduced to future collaborator and friend Paul at Uchi and Uchiko, where Okai served as head sushi chef for six years. After a stint as head chef at East Side King, Okai joined Qui at his namesake restaurant, Qui, in 2014.

In 2015, Yoshi was named head chef of Otoko.

The last three dinners I attended at Pao with Paul have been excellent.  He followed up his crowd pleasing Cobaya dinner with an outstanding Omakase dinner three nights later.  On August 24 he brought chef Changthong, executive chef at his Thai restaurant in Austin Thai-Kun to town.  That was another awesome meal. I have not done a recap of that one yet but you can see my photos on my Instagram.

The Kaiseki Collaboration looks like another winner and must do event. I will be there for sure.

Tickets are available for $95 with an optional beverage option for $30, exclusive of tax and service charge.

September 20th, 2016, 7:00pm, Pao by Paul Qui

Click here to book your tickets

Potential/representative dishes from Otoko that should get you hungry pictured below.

Zensai - Lotus root, salmon roe, chervil, Japanese parsley + ponzu

ayu (aka sweet fish) with compressed watermelon, yuzu & burnet

Binnaga albacore tuna, cherry plum, jalapeño, ponzu, cilantro

Eryngii mushroom, dinosaur kale, kurogoma sauce, Turk's cap

Hirame from Misaki, Japan with unripe satsuma tangerine and lambs quarters

Aoyagi, skimmer clam, green mango, yuzu juice,  Mexican marigold,  nasu

3201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

Hours of Operation
Dinner Only
6:00pm – 11:00pm (Sunday – Thursday)
6:00pm – 12:00am (Friday & Saturday)

For Information
Phone +1 786 655 5600 / + 1 844 798 9712

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Civil War!! Recap Game of the Somms Bourbon Steak v Stripsteak 7.27.16

Game of somms went down on July 27, 2016 at the great Bourbon Steak. This battle of the sexes was a civil war that pitted Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak against their kin to the south, Stripsteak. Turnberry Isle v. Fontainbleau and riesling v. riesling too.

Five courses, ten rieslings.

It was the Thrillahh in Aventurilahh!!

Not a bad tree to be under.  Rajat Parr and Michael Mina.

As my loyal readers know,  I'm a huge fan of Bourbon Steak and it's not just about Chef Gabe Fenton and his team's amazing food.  The service remains the best in town and the wine list is equally as impressive.  Cocktails are proper too. But Stripsteak, another solid Michael Mina venture, didn't come to town to be the ugly step sister. They've got game too and their sommeliers came to play.

On a side note, although this night was about  the wonderful wine, Chef Gabe knocked it out of the park (as expected and as usual). HEY JAMES BEARD PEOPLE YOU ARE MISSING THE SOUTH FLORIDA BOAT.

Okay, back to the regularly scheduled post.

I'll refrain from boring you with every detail about the meal and pairings.  In a nutshell, it was a really enjoyable night and the type of night we should have more of in Miami.  The camaraderie between the somms made the night a lot of fun.  Both squads did a fantastic job with the challenging event. I had a very difficult time picking a winner in most of the courses and I'm not sure which team won on my scorecard.  My selections are noted with an **.  

Bottom line - The Boys may have won the battle but the real winners were us diners in the private room.  The ladies were rock solid too and I would highly recommend paying that dynamic duo a visit at Stripsteak.

Stay tuned for The Walking Dead Somms War featuring a cameo from Rajat Parr.  

Local Wahoo Tataki, apple, jalepeno, cucumber, mint.


Albert Boxler Brand Grand Cru, Alsace 2010 **


Robert Weil Kiedrich Turmberg Trocken, Rheingau 2010

Blackened Tilefish, salsa verde, cilantro, basmati rice. 


Kruger Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer GG, NAHE 2014 **


Forge Cellers Les Allies Finger Lakes 2013

Of course, you can't play Game of Somms without the King of Foie.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras, carrot vadouvan, mango chutney, cumin yogurt


Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Spatlese, NAHE 2008 


JJ Christoffel Urziger Wurzgarten Spatlese, Mosel 2014  **

Game of Chicharones made a cameo appearance.

Prime NY Strip, cauliflower, green grapes, almonds, romanesco


F.E. Trimbach Frederic Emile Alsace 2007  **


Emmerich Knoll Schutt Smaragd, Wachau 2004 

To the King of the North!! 

Game of Somms ended on a sweet note thanks to pastry chef Patty Lopez.

Peaches and Pecans - grilled peaches, pecan genoise, clover honey.


Dr Hermann Erdener Pralat, Auslese Goldkapsel, Mosel 2012 


Dr. loosen Beerenayslese, Mosel 2011  **

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Recap of Paul Qui's Omakase Throwdown @ Pao (Faena Hotel) 7.17.16

Three nights after delivering a kick ass Cobaya Experiment, Chef Paul Qui was ready to throw down some more.  So on short notice, I reached out to my food loving friends and quickly gathered 19 adventurous diners (nine attended the Cobaya Dinner too) for a 12 course Omakase Throwdown.  

This was another outstanding meal.

I've written about Paul and Pao as well as the fantastic Faena property recently so I will spare you the details here.  You can read more about them in the link above.  

No menus were provided.  Once the group was seated Paul along with his chef de cuisine Derek Salkin just started delivering plates to our table.  This is my favorite way to eat and Paul did not disappoint.  

It should be noted that Paul owns a Japanese restaurant in Austin called Otoko.  Otoko is a 12-seat multi-course omakase experience that blends Tokyo-style sushi and Kyoto-style kaiseki into a unique tasting menu. 

So he is no stranger to this type of meal. 

He is looking to do the omakase dinners on a monthly basis. The next one is set for August 25, 2016 at 7PM. Tickets are $175.00 and include a pairing.  There are only 12 seats for this one so you better act fast.  Tickets are available via TockTix HERE.  

Additionally, he is also cooking an Imperial "OG" Thai Feast the night before with  Chef Changthong, executive chef at Paul's restaurant Thai-Kun in Austin.  More details and ticket information is available HERE.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Assortment of Last Season's Vegetables

Uni Chawanmushi!

Soft Egg Custard, Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, White Sturgeon Caviar

Clam Ceviche 

Nasu Nigiri 

Grilled Japanese Eggplant, Soy Caramel 

Wagyu Nigiri 

Grilled Wagyu Beef Short rib, Smoked Shoyu, Fresh Wasabi 

Veloute of the Year (pre Veloute)

Sunchoke Jardiniere
Sunchoke Veloute, Raw and Marinated Farm Vegetables, Fresh Sour Cream, Lobster Coral

Veloute Shot!

Fresh Lumpia 

Lamb Tartare, Kaffir Lime, Egg Yolk Pudding, Hoja Santa Wrapper (loved the hoja as a flavorful vehicle)

Coconut and Tumeric Poached Maine Halibut, Tomato Jam, Summer Squash Conserva, Zucchini Blossom Kimchi 

Quail Onigiri
Texas Banderas Quail, Sushi Rice (stuffed),Stone Fruit Sauce, Pickled Green Strawberry

Dinuguan (not very photogenic but delicious)

Pork Blood Sauce, Potato Gnocchi, Crispy Pig Ears, Red Onion, Coriander.

Smoked Lone Mountain Wagyu Ribeye
Green Peppercorn Umami Sauce 

Cashew Pie
Fermented Banana Sorbet, Dark Treacle Marshmallow, Binchotan Sear

Sear to Table!! 
Pardon my reach but do you mind if I Binchotan your dessert?!

Pandan Mochi, Kinako Flour

Run don't walk to Pao for their regular menu and of course annoys their special meals including the next Omakase dinner on August 25, 2016.

3201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

Hours of Operation
Dinner Only
6:00pm – 11:00pm (Sunday – Thursday)
6:00pm – 12:00am (Friday & Saturday)

For Information
Phone +1 786 655 5600 / + 1 844 798 9712

Friday, August 12, 2016

Chef Collective @ Pao 8.24.16


Chef Paul Qui will be in town and throwing down "OG Thai" food with Chef Changthong, executive chef at Thai-Kun in Austin, Texas on August 24, 2016 at one of my favorite spots Pao.  Thai-Kin was rated the 8th Best New Restaurant in America in 2014 by Bon Appétit Magazine.    This should be a deliciously fun night. 


You can book your tickets via TockTix  HERE