The Art of Uchi Miami
Opening in Miami’s art-filled Wynwood district in early 2021, Uchi Miami has made a splash in the creative community over the last two years, thanks to its non-traditional Japanese menu and design-centric interiors.
Founded by James Beard Award‑winning chef Tyson Cole, Uchi (“house” in Japanese) strikes a delicate balance between elegant cuisine and impeccable service. While there are many omakase and sushi-centric restaurants throughout Miami’s diverse culinary scene, there’s a reason Uchi stands out (TimeOut called it a “darling from the start”).
At Uchi, each dish is a modern art piece. Just as an artist assembles a perfectly structured work, Uchi’s talented chefs craft each dish with a meticulous hand and creative eye. Take the Sake Toro Crudo, for example. The cool-temperature dish comprises six delicately arranged pieces of salmon belly topped with lychee and ginger over a shallow pool of passion fruit zu (vinegar). Flower petals and greenery garnish the salmon as the finishing touch. The blend is almost too beautiful to eat, but once it enters guests’ mouths, the intricate layers of flavor and texture dance on their taste buds.
And let’s not forget about the desserts. Uchi’s most popular selection is the Jasmine Cream, a floral beauty with notes of jasmine under layers of honey tuile, cilantro granita and pineapple. It is served on a sleek wooden tray within a glass display case (à la the rose in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast).
Uchi Miami’s commitment to integrating Floridian flavors is evidenced by how tropical flavor profiles run rampant across the food and beverage menus. The carefully crafted cocktails incorporate Japanese spirits with global ingredients. For example, the spicy yet tropical Tsurai mixes Astral Tequila, passion fruit, aperol and Thai chili, while the milk-clarified Oyabun pairs pineapple oleo with shishito-infused Mezcal Unión and Strega. Meanwhile, the Uchi G&T is Uchi’s most classic choice, a mix of Fords Gin, yuzu cordial and tonic garnished with a slice of dry citrus.
Guests can also find an extensive catalog of Japanese and local beers, a diverse list of wines (including dessert wines) and an expansive sake menu that doesn’t discriminate. The sake menu is classified by flavor profile for ease of reference: nigori, crisp, floral, earthy and robust. The menu also includes the English moniker alongside the original Japanese name to provide insight into each sake’s taste and aroma. While the drink selection may seem robust at first glance, diners can find relief from the expert servers practiced in the art of guiding each guest in selecting the perfect pairing.
Uchi’s thoughtfully designed interiors subtly integrate organic elements and a modern aesthetic. Materials such as metal, concrete and rope are softened by a neutral color palette, warm walnut paneling, cream sherpa banquettes, brightly colored botanical wallcoverings and soft accent lighting to achieve a simplicity that pairs well with the equally refined menu.
Much of the handiwork was done by local Miami artists and artisans. The towering cinder-block wall at the entrance was a partnership between DRM Custom Masonry (bricks), AWN Architectural Woodwork Institute (steel structure) and artist and sculptor Vas Bets (handwoven rope). The exterior graffiti installations are by local talents, the decor is by artist and textile designer Elan Byrd and the custom woodwork is from Holz Wood Shop.
Uchi is owned and operated by Hai Hospitality, the James Beard Award-winning Austin, Texas-based restaurant group that set out to give Miami a taste of what it offered its audience in 2003 when it opened the original Uchi location in Austin. Uchi Miami marks Hai Hospitality’s first Florida venture; in 2024, it will open its second with the anticipated launch of Uchiko in Miami Beach. Meaning “son of Uchi,” the restaurant will offer an expansion of Uchi’s menu with the addition of wood-fired, yakitori-grilled dishes.
Guests looking to experience Uchi Miami’s artful elegance can visit daily from 5-11 p.m., with happy hour from 5-6:30 p.m. Reservations are encouraged. For more information, visit uchimiami.com, call 305.995.0915 or follow @uchi_miami on Instagram.