This is the story of the night I ate incredible Japanese food three tables away from Basketball Hall of Fame legend Ray Allen.
It was our second night at Baha Mar in the Bahamas and we were very excited for our dinner reservation. I knew about the Katsuya location in Miami, FL, but never had the chance to check it out. Thankfully, we were able to book on Open Table weeks before our trip, ensuring we would have the opportunity to dine there.
Katsuya is located right off the casino floor.
The hostess walked us toward a table for two, right next to the bar. Are these the sexiest menus you've ever seen?
We started by perusing the cocktail menu. I went with the Burning Mandarin, which was Absolut Mandarin vodka, serrano chili, lemon juice, orange juice, and a splash of cranberry juice. My dinner date chose the Katsuya Fresh, which was Grey Goose vodka, Rock sake, cucumber, and lime juice.
I loved the Burning Mandarin. It had just the right amount of citrus and heat. My friend said, "If it were me, I'd lick that entire sugar rim!" She called the Katsuya Fresh, "incredibly refreshing," living up to its name. I had one sip and it tasted like exactly what you'd want to be drinking on the patio in the summer.
Chef Katsuya Uechi's menu is fantastic. You will want absolutely everything. It was tough for us to narrow down our top picks, so we basically didn't, and just ordered a ton of food.
The first dish to arrive was the shishito peppers with yuzu yogurt.
The peppers were blistered perfectly and super tasty when dunked in the yogurt sauce. This combination was addicting and we popped these like candy.
Next, we tried the grilled zucchini with smoked bamboo aioli. The zucchini had a great char and an awesome, smoky flavor. Each piece was soft as you bit into it.
I have no idea what bamboo aioli is, but I couldn't get enough of it. It was so delicious and creamy. When we finished all the pieces of zucchini, we held onto the aioli, guarding it from the bus boy.
The vegetable tempura came next - a mixture of battered and fried sweet potato, onion, asparagus and broccoli. The broccoli florets are always my favorite.
Though the tempura came with a soy dashi dipping sauce, I only had eyes for the bamboo aioli.
The crispy Brussels sprouts with balsamic soy and toasted almonds arrived, and after our first bites, we couldn't stop eating them! Each sprout was shockingly crispy and had a great salty flavor from the dressing it was tossed in.
I don't eat sushi, but my bestie does and she ordered the corn crunch roll with shrimp. It came with eight pieces.
She picked up the first piece, took a bite and said, "I eat a fair amount of sushi, and this is the tastiest I've ever had. It's so fresh and the corn on top adds a crunch, which is a nice contrast to the rest of the ingredients."
We also got the sweet corn with shichimi citrus butter, which came speared with wooden sticks. My BFF commented, "These are nothing special. They have a good char, but I wish it had something more, almost like the way Mexican street corn is slathered in aioli or cheese."
Now, you will notice from the above photo, there was a ton of food on our tiny table. Despite asking our waiter to pace our meal so that we didn't get every single dish at once, that is exactly what happened. Servers kept bringing things out, and when he finally noticed, he said, "Ladies, I do apologize. This is not how I asked them to fire your dishes. When you finish those cocktails, your next round is on me." Well, ok then!
We sat happily, noshing and sipping our (free!) drinks. When we were ready to tap out, our waiter smiled and said, "Dare I ask if you have room for dessert?" We exchanged a quick, knowing glance and replied in unison, "We always do!"
As we looked over the dessert menu, it became clear pretty quickly that we were gravitating towards two totally different options. Since we had already gone big with the savory round, we decided to keep the gluttony going and each order our own dessert.
Across from me, was the banana sticky rice with vanilla ice cream.
After a few blissful bites, she raved, "This tastes like caramel! Honestly, this may be the my favorite dessert ever. This is magical sauce!"
I went with the molten chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse and green tea ice cream.
This was wonderfully gooey cake, delivering on the molten description. The white chocolate mousse was sweet, but not sickeningly so. I wasn't a fan of the green tea ice cream, it tasted . . . over steeped?
Overall, we loved Katsuya. The vibe, the decor, the veggies dishes, and the memorable desserts. On top of all that, we had a celebrity sighting! In the middle of the meal, we noticed all the guests' heads turning like dominos. We asked our server, "What's going on?" He replied, "Oh, Ray Allen just walked in with his family. He comes here all the time." You know, casual.
If you have the chance to visit Katsuya, in the Bahamas or here in the States, you have to go! Make sure you get something that comes with that bamboo aioli.