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Even more pleasing are the Florida rock shrimp ($7.50), a sizable plate of thickly battered shrimp, skillfully fried until they're juicy and sweet. Topped with a lighter version of Masumi's spicy mayo, the shrimp become irresistible if not slightly indulgent. Similarly, black pork belly ($8) and stir-fried pork with kimchee ($6.50) temper just the right amount of fat with texture — though the bacony belly is not nearly as caramelized as it should be.
Two dishes I'd never pass up are the skipjack tataki ($14) and the braised beef tongue salad ($10). Skipjack is a small, Pacific tuna also known as aku or katsuo. More than a dozen thick, triangular slices of the mahogany flesh are seared quickly and dabbed with a pinch of ginger, minced red onion, and scallions. You'll swear off ordinary tuna tataki after trying it. The beef tongue medallions circling a Thai-inspired salad play a similar trick in that you've probably never had beef tongue rendered so delicate, intensely beefy, and tender.
Marumi's most intriguing offer, though, is its fresh, whole fish. At the start of the meal, your server will haul a glistening array of local seafood to your table such as hog snapper, triggerfish, grouper, and lobster. She'll explain to you what each critter tastes like and how it's best prepared. The mild hog snapper, our server told us, makes excellent usuzukuri, the transparently thin slices of sashimi. Or, she explained, in a stir-fry with garlic chives and bean sprouts. The triggerfish, with its slightly firmer flesh, loves to be grilled. Most of the fish can be done two or three ways, and because everything is just $1.20 per ounce, you can quickly turn an average-sized fish into a three-course meal.
Each of the three times I've ordered this way, I've come away surprised. The hog snapper usuzukuri was as singularly edifying as sashimi gets — mind-blowingly fresh and oceanic. It was almost a crime to sully it in the accompanying ponzu and momiji oroshi, which is served in place of wasabi with most dishes. Our host Teru-san provided us with slivers of a triggerfish's ivory liver that tasted like some version of foie gras grown on a vibrant seabed. As good as that was, the chewy gizzard accompanying it was almost better. And I've never had anything quite like the Florida lobster sashimi, made from the same bugger we would later enjoy grilled with shiitakes and onions and then again in lobster head soup. There is something sinfully decadent about eating raw chunks of crystalline lobster meat. It's like feasting on gold bullion. The only thing shattering that illusion is that this entire three-way preparation cost just $48 and fed four people.
At its best, Marumi is a blank canvas. It could be your after-work haunt, where you wash away the aches with a cold Kirin and a handful of small bites; your secret cure for a rainy day, where you go to clear your head over a bowl of rich, curry soba; or your luxe date-night destination, where a dinner for two is anything but standard. Above all, it's a playground, where a lobster leg doubles as a straw and your next adventure is as close as the sushi chef's bar top. Broward's never really had a place like Marumi. Let's hope it's with us for a while.