We're always on the lookout for new, innovative eateries that are tucked away from the mainstream, hidden gems waiting to be discovered and appreciated for their fresh culinary take. After receiving a hot tip from a trusted foodie, we saddled-up and made our way down to Kraken Crudo, located in an unassuming strip mall. We weren't sure what to expect, but the idea of mashing-up Latin flavors with traditional sushi was definitely intriguing to our overactive palates and we were curious about Venezuelan Chef Samuel's creations.
Once inside, we were immediately hooked by the small intimate vibe. There are just three tables and a small counter area you can eat at, which provides an up-close look as your food is being meticulously prepared. The décor is modern meets industrial, with light fixtures dangling from ceiling pipes, and gorgeous street art, featuring the legendary octopus-like Kraken sea monster, dominating the walls. Looking at the menu, we were pleasantly surprised to note the Sushi roll option icons, which included the choice of substituting rice for Quinoa or Baby Arugula on designated selections. We were ready to "release the Kraken!"
You've never had pizza like this before! Imagine herb cream cheese, crispy shallots, aji amarillo, topped with honey truffle. Yum! This had to be one of our faves of the evening. The mix of flavors is a unique combination, with the sweetness of the honey accenting, but not overshadowing, all the different flavors. Unlike the sushi we're used to, the texture had a crunchiness that was divine, with the base resembling a toasted Mexican tortilla. We'll have another, please!
Salmon Belly Crudo
This combo of salmon belly, smoke ponzu, ikura, and micro cilantro really hit the spot. The salmon belly is very thinly sliced and melts in your mouth, complemented by the heavenly smoked ponzu sauce. The texture of the ikura, with its layered juiciness, contrasts perfectly with the tenderness of the salmon. With the micro cilantro adding a mild touch of spiciness, the result is a treat for the taste buds!
You can't go wrong with this dish, featuring corvine, red onion, cilantro, Japanese pear, leche de tigre, and cancha. The texture of the fish is perfect, not too chewy, and you could relish the freshness with every bite. Taste-wise, there was a great balance between the acidity of the leche de tigre, the spiciness of the cilantro, and the sweetness of the pear that was quite satisfying and delish!
Corn Bread Sandwich
Prepared with guava yuzu jam and traditional Venezuelan asado negro, we were totally on board with the twist on this southern comfort dish. The bottom-round roast of the asado negro was juicy, sweet, and tender, shredded and placed on top of the corn bread. The flavor of the cornbread, combined with the succulent meat, was a perfect pairing that definitely made the cut!
OMG! This mix of tender octopus, aji panka, shiso chimichurri and fingerling potatoes was to die for! The octopus is crazy tender, one of the most tender we've had, roasted together with the fingerling potatoes, which provide a nice texture contrast. The predominant flavor of the aji panka is the proverbial icing on the case that elevates this selection to mythical (pro)portions!
Unlike most of the sushi rolls we've had in the past, here it's all about the filling. The rolls have less rice, and more of the good stuff inside!
Consisting of white fish, chives, avocado, crispy shallots & spicy tuna on top, this dish was a perfect catch! This is one of the best spicy tuna dishes we've ever had, where the actual tuna taste isn't overpowered by the spiciness. The chives are on the inside of the roll and give it just the right amount of crunch. And the fish was extremely fresh. Aye aye, captain!
Featuring more of the spicy tuna we loved, this roll also contains avocado, chives, nori chips, wakame, smoked ponzu & aji Amarillo on top. The spicy tuna is perfectly paired with the aji Amarillo for a winning sweet & spicy balance. Add to that the fresh ocean taste of the wakame and it doesn't get any better!
OUR FINAL MOUTHFUL
We enthusiastically recommend a visit to Kraken Crudo! The fact that they go out of their way to create interesting mixes of flavor, marrying Latin American tastes with Japanese flair guarantees an exciting and fresh culinary experience that will only whet your appetite for more!
3509 NE 2nd Avenue Miami, FL