Caviar Appetizers, and Much More
Two years ago, Major Food Group scored a huge success in Miami Beach by opening an outpost of their beloved New York upscale red-sauce joint, Carbone. Since then, the ambitious hospitality group—composed of Jeff Zalaznick, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi—has expanded its empire in Miami, transplanting other Manhattan favorites.
Case in point: ZZ’s Club, a discreet culinary membership club in the middle of Miami’s Design District. It’s the 26th MFG property in the world, and the second in Miami after Carbone. ZZ’s Club, with its high-concept Japanese fare from chef Yasu Tanaka, is an adaptation of ZZ-s Clam Bar in New York’s Greenwich Village.
On the first floor, diners will find a traditional sushi omakase counter, plus a modern Japanese restaurant boasting a dazzling à la carte menu. The second floor features a cigar terrace, backgammon balcony, and a charming bar and lounge that seems created for secret rendezvous. Bold interior designer Ken Falk created the whole transporting affair.
Tanaka has an impressive pedigree: In Tokyo, he worked at the famous Sushi Iwa for three years; in New York, he served up Japanese delicacies at Sushi Azabu.
Now, on to the toothsome menu, so order up a festive Honshu sour (crafted from Toki Japanese whiskey, pineapple and cinnamon) and take a look. Light eaters can make a shared meal out of the snacks, toasts, salads, raw bar and dumplings and still feel indulgent. The trout roe toast, served on a brioche drizzled with truffle honey, is a standout, as is the bluefin tuna caviar presented in an avocado half. Caviar lovers will also gravitate to the beef carpaccio with sea urchin, lobster and caviar.
The raw bar also features East Coast oysters with pickled wasabi mignonette, stone crabs (a Miami favorite) and wasabi lobster complemented by sweet green tomatoes. The “snacks” are particularly inventive—a showcase for Tanaka’s creativity: look for roasted bone marrow, crispy shrimp fritters, chin chin shrimp (prepared tempura style, with Grand Marnier), chicken yakatori with foie gras sausage, and mushroom spring rolls.
As the culinary world seems to have rediscovered dumplings, ZZ’s Club delivers with a small, highly curated but delicious selection. The Szechuan shrimp wontons, pork gyoza and steamed lobster dumplings are equally good. And be sure to order the restaurant’s signature miso Caesar salad—your dining companions will fight over the last lettuce leaf.
For those who want to keep going, ZZ’s Club offers a full sushi and sashimi menu—the tastiest choices include the Wagyu truffle hand roll and the surf and turf roll. The toro caviar hand roll is not to be missed. And for diners who want a more filling main course, the menu offers a selection of Wagyu beef (including a cumin- and Szechuan-rubbed spicy Tomahawk steak) and fish dishes (including a light, steamed Asian bass and a not-so-light Dover sole meunière—a departure from the Japanese theme).
The only challenge is restraint—what to save for a second visit, and which lucky friends to invite.