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Katsuya Chef Jose Icardi

Those in-the-know understand that when it comes to fresh and innovative sushi, very few places compare to Katsuya {1701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.455.2995}. And now, the South Beach location of the SBE group restaurant is spicing things up by adding some brand-new dishes to its already popular menu that won’t disappoint. DiningOut recently had the chance to interview Katsuya’s Executive Chef Jose Icardi to discuss the new items, his background, and how Miami reflects the menu as a whole.

1. Tell us about your background. Where are you originally from and how did you end up in Miami?
I grew up in the Ramos Mejía neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. I moved to Spain in 1997 after graduating from culinary school to work and learn from the rich Spanish food culture. After a year of living abroad, I decided Miami would be an amazing place to live. I came here in 1998 and immediately fell in love with the city!

2. What was your experience with food like growing up? What made you decide to be a chef?
I grew up in a big family and almost every night of the week, my dad was cooking a great asado, which is an Argentine barbecue, or we were visiting friends and family for a party or dinner. Even though I moved out of the city and studied to be a lifeguard on the coast of Argentina, I found myself attracted to the amazing food culture we have in the country and I decided to go to culinary school to sharpen my skills.

3. How did you end up working with SBE, specifically Katsuya?
I was working with Starr Restaurants and Chef Makoto Okuwa in Bal Harbour for about five years when I decided to take a leave of absence to be with my family in Buenos Aires. When I returned to the States, SBE and Katsuya reached out to me to lead their kitchen operations. I was more than happy to become part of such a great team.

4. How does the menu at the South Beach location differ from other Katsuya locations?
The Katsuyas all differ to an extent. We like to incorporate the flavors of Latin America and Miami into the menu, which gives us a unique edge. One of my favorite dishes is our Katsuya Ceviche, which is popular throughout Latin America. Our version is an Asian fusion with a fresh yuzu citrus ponzu and a dash of truffle oil.

5. Does Miami itself play a part when creating menu items, selecting ingredients, etc.?
It definitely does! We have beautiful weather year-round, which makes it ideal to promote locally grown and farm-to-table ingredients. We are very lucky to buy both locally sourced fish, produce, and meat, such as the natural Wagyu beef from Jackman Farms in Central Florida. We also to buy directly from Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan.

katsuya Chicken karaage

6. Tell us about some of the newer menu items. How do these items reflect Katsuya as an evolving culinary destination?
We strive to maintain a balance between classic and contemporary cuisine, and one example of that is our Salmon Tartare with paddlefish caviar. We use salmon rather than a traditional whitefish and drizzle it in ponzu with crispy salmon skin for texture and a dash of caviar on top. Another favorite of mine is our Chicken Karaage [pictured above], which is cooked low and slow with aromatics and served on top of a cold potato salad with Key limes. We like to keep our menu new and fresh, so that even if you have visited our location or any other Katsuya before, it will always be a unique experience.

7. What is a must-try for first-timers?
For first timers—even those who do not eat sushi—our menu is perfect because it is so diverse. While we pride ourselves on having high-quality and creative sushi, sashimi, and maki, Katsuya also has my favorite, the Robata Grill. Everything there is tapas-style, so it’s great for sharing and really embodies the izakaya dining experience of Japan. I recommend trying the Wagyu Filet and Foie Gras, or the grilled Maitake Mushrooms.

8. What can we expect in the future for Katsuya?
Our most important goal is to continue to offer consistent, yet creative dishes that will reflect the high standard that we hold for ourselves. We want to be ever-evolving as well, so we like to have weekly additions to the menu based on the seasons.

9. What local or celebrity chefs do you admire?
I admire Chef Susur Lee; not only is he a great friend, but he is talented and creative. I’d love for him to visit Miami more often so we could collaborate.

10. Do you have a favorite food or food guilty pleasure?
I really stick to my roots and try make everyone in my house happy. On the weekends, I’m always cooking up an asado dinner just as if we were back in Argentina. I bring back all my favorite spices and rubs from Argentina for the meat, and I make a lot of the same recipes my dad taught me when I was a kid. It’s a win-win situation!

—Sherri Balefsky | Miami Editor

OriginalCosmo Katsuya

This month, Katsuya at the SLS South Beach {1701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.455.2995} not only wants everyone to think pink, but to drink pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

From now through the end of October, the SBE hot spot on Miami Beach will be donating 10-percent of the proceeds from every purchase of its specialty rose-colored cocktail, the Original COSMO, to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Be sure to visit Katsuya to show your support of the cause, then make it for friends at home.

Mix 1-1/2 ounces of vodka with 1 ounce cranberry juice, 3/4 ounce lime juice, 1/2 ounce simple syrup and 1/4 ounce Cointreau. Garnish with cherry and lemon wedge.

By Sherri Balefsky | Miami Editor

Fontainebleau {4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.538.2000}

Fontainebleau is a beacon of Miami glamour for many reasons, one of them

The Fontainebleau

The Fontainebleau

being the amount of fine-dining options under one roof. Dive into the bold Asian flavors at Hakkasan; have a tête-à-tête over French cuisine at La Côte; indulge in the rich Italian cooking at Scarpetta; and finally, top off your night at Fontainebleau’s latest venture, Michael Mina 74, part restaurant and part ultra-lounge set inside one of the hotel’s former clubs. fontainebleau.com

Avalon Hotel {700 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 305.538.0133}

Located on one of Ocean Drive’s busiest blocks, the Avalon Hotel is an icon of Art Deco glory. It also happens to house one of South Beach’s most iconic

The Avalon

The Avalon

restaurants, A Fish Called Avalon, which epitomizes everything you’d ever want from a dining experience in Miami. avalonhotel.com

JW Marriott {255 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami; 305.421.8600}

The JW Marriott has a secret: Drakes. This lounge has the feel of a private club, where only Miami’s most powerful and elite congregate, but it’s every bit as inviting as you’d expect for a restaurant at the Marriott. marriott.com

SLS Hotel South Beach {1701 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.674.1701}

Such an emphasis was placed on dining at the SLS that the hotel forewent a lobby, choosing instead to greet guests with the sumptuous smells of small plates from the kitchen of The Bazaar by José Andrés. Beyond that, the doors to Katsuya lead to one of the most tantalizing sushi experiences ever to hit your taste buds. sbe.com

The Catalina Hotel and Beach Club {1732 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.674.1160}

Whether you’ve headed to Maxine’s for a post-party burger or you’re just starting out your night with drink specials and Korean barbecue at Fung Ku, The Catalina never fails to provide a fabulous ambience and great food. Just remember: What happens at The Catalina, stays at The Catalina. catalinahotel.com

The Setai {2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.520.6000}

The Setai

The Setai

An air of mystery may surround The Setai upon first inspection, but one bite into any dish from The Grill or The Restaurant and you’ll realize quickly that these establishments are so grand, they need no name to be recognized. thesetaihotel.com

The Four Seasons {1435 Brickell Avenue, Miami; 305.358.3535}

Whether you come for happy hour on EDGE Steak & Bar’s rooftop terrace, or you’re slicing into a juicy cut of meat in the restaurant’s bustling indoor dining area, there’s no doubt that EDGE is one of the best establishments to have happened to Brickell Avenue. fourseasons.com

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne {1 Lincoln Road, Miami; 786.276.4000}

One need not go to Mexico for an authentic Mexican dining experience. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne houses Cantina Beach, an intimate outdoor oasis where you can dine under a breezy tiki hut and pair your meal with the perfect tequila as recommended by the restaurant’s tequilier. ritzcarlton.com

Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach {101 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 305.938.4600}

No time spent in Miami is complete without a solid meal at a Cuban establishment; with a vibrant ambience, an extensive cocktail and food menu, and a prime location on Ocean, De Rodriguez at the Hilton Bentley is one you must try. hilton.com

The Essex Hotel {1001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.534.2700}

The Essex House is a boutique hotel in Miami Beach done right, especially when it comes to dining at Zen Sai, the Asian fusion grill located within its Art Deco walls. Whether sipping on sake or enjoying any of the restaurant’s delectable seafood dishes, a meal at Zen Sai is everything right about Asian cuisine. essexhotel.com

The Ritz-Carlton South Beach

There are myriad restaurants facing the ocean, but surprisingly none with an actual ocean view. DiLido at The Ritz-Carlton is the only fine dining establishment on Collins to boast this view, which is comparable only to the restaurant’s perfectly crafted menu. ritzcarlton.com

The Biltmore {1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables; 858.311.6903}

Two concepts anchor the world-class Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables: Palme d’Or and Fontana. At Palme d’Or, an upscale ambience welcomes guests both

The Biltmore

The Biltmore

local and distant, serving Chef Gregory Pugin’s Michelin-starred French cuisine that “has a twist of modernity to it.” At Fontana, the hotel’s courtyard restaurant, Chef Beppe Galazzi dazzles with local and farm-fresh ingredients, rounding out an Italian-inspired menu for any meal. We love Palme d’Or’s flaky Chilean Sea Bass, and Fontana’s potato-ricotta Gnocchi. biltmorehotel.com

The Conrad {1395 Brickell Avenue, Miami; 305.503.6500}

Located within the Conrad Hotel, Atrio is cozy and intimate, save for the grandiose view of Miami’s skyline. The choice cuisine is locally-sourced and sustainable, from the produce to the fish, and the option of sitting within the restaurant’s wine room for a private tasting with friends makes this a definite Magic City gem. conradhotels3.hilton.com