Paperfish Sushi Has a Surprise Around Every Corner
By Michelle Solomon
Everything at Paperfish Sushi in Brickell is meant to be beautiful. Enter through the red torii gates, which definitely take you away from the pavement of South Miami Avenue and 14th Street where the restaurant is hidden (in an alley east of Barsecco and west of Novacento). It's difficult to find it at first, but once you get in, you've entered another world.
Inside, a large screen on the back wall shows black and white "day in the life" clips of Japan – children eating, people walking, talking, and it plays on a continuous reel. Pink cherry blossom trees separate one dining area from another and large scrolls with Japanese writing cover another wall.
Paperfish bravely opened in the midst of the pandemic in April 2021, but that's where the roots of the restaurant were born.
V&E Restaurant Group (Barsecoo, Café Americano, Miami Beach Italian seafood restaurant Mercato della Pescheria, Marabu in Brickell City Centre, and others) along with Fabric Group LATAM added Paperfish to its portfolio.
The head chef of Paperfish Sushi, Giovanni Ruiz, is a native of Lima, Peru, who got his start working in the family butcher shop, eventually went to culinary school there, and ended up in Miami in 2012. He worked at a number of restaurants here, including La Mar by Gaston Acurio, where he honed the craft of Nikkei – a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine.
During the pandemic, he started entertaining friends and family by creating private Omakase dinners, which usually begin with light bites and then move into larger plates. In traditional omakase, guests allow the chef to create for them rather than select their food.
So, that's what we did.
Tucked away Paperfish had a surprise around every corner.
Cocktails were the first order of the day (or evening, in this case).
We were given the Cucuzaki, a beautiful purple drink, decorated with flowers and made with Japanese gin, flower infused sake, elderflower liqueur, sugar, Yuzu juice, which is usually used in ponzu sauce for dipping sushi, and a slice of cucumber, which was thinly sliced and hovered along the ice in the drink.
The Hanami Champagne was another amazing delight served in a Champagne flute, also decorated with small, fresh flowers on the outside of the glass. Made with Japanese Haku vodka, basil, strawberry, agave nectar, sparkling sake, strawberry, and once again, Yuzu juice, the drink presentation was pretty, the taste, prettier.
Then it was the signature drink of the house. Spectacular in its presentation, the Wasabi martini, made with, of course, wasabi, Japanese vodka, ginger liqueur, basil, pineapple and lemon, it arrived with wisps of smoke. All of the flavors amazingly came together and for this martini drinker, it was unlike any I've ever tasted.
From the raw bar, there were two menu items sent by the chef: Nekkei ceviche, tuna with watermelon, a fresh surprise, Smoked Rocoto Ceviche, which had smoky octopus at its center, and Nikkei Tataki featuring tuna and foie gras. The dishes were presented with artistic flair, each served on sleek stone plates. Another ceviche dish which features an array of fish came in a bowl surrounded white cloud-like smoke created by liquid nitrogen.
Their signature nigiri (sushi) are these must haves: Salmon Aburi, which is torched salmon and truffle oil, the Wagyu-Ni, Wagyu beef torched and ginger wasabi, or, my favorite, the Hotruffle, which is scallop, white truffle and sea salt, smooth and buttery.
For rolls, try the Tropical Yasai roll with mango, cucumber, cream cheese, avocado and passion fruit sauce. It was a sweet delight.
The sashimi platter was almost too beautiful to eat with so much fresh fish. Served on a large platter with crushed ice, and decorative garnishes, the fish was fresh and the temperature exactly right, not too cold, but not room temperature, either.
You can have the chef create his signature Omakase, where you get a ceviche of his choosing, the Tiradito Apassionado from the raw bar, which is salmon and passion fruit, along with four pieces of sushi, 6 pieces of sashimi, and 5 pieces of the signature rolls.
For dessert, the lava cake presentation was beautiful – a small piece of chocolate cake was served warm with deep chocolate in the middle, and pistachio ice cream on a small plate on the side.
There's so much on the menu to choose from that is tempting to try everything. With its first intriguing introduction, you will want to return to Paperfish and you'll be just as surprised the second time around.
Paperfish Sushi is located at 1421 South Miami Ave., Brickell. www.paperfishsushi.com or 305 741-0936