Restaurant Reviews

Enjoy "Japanese Soul Food" at Hiro's Yakko-San in North Miami Beach

The phrase "Japanese soul food" might not parse, until, that is, you step into Hiro's Yakko-San, an izakaya-style joint serving beer, sake, and Japanese "tapas" to a late-night crowd. It's a favored destination of South Florida's sushi chefs, who stumble in after their shifts end (which explains the late hours) looking for comfort in the form of shrimp kara-age, head-on local shellfish lightly battered and fried, or nasu buto, thin purple eggplant sautéed with peppers, miso, and pork. The menu is full of similarly themed small plates, none over $15 and many under $5, and to make sense of it all takes patience and a willing palate. Some tips for getting the most out of it: Come with friends. Passing plates of yellowtail sashimi with olive oil, soy, and jalapeño or kimchi-fried rice and then gushing over it together is half the fun. Arrive long before you are hungry, since you will most certainly wait for a table after 10 p.m. Always order two more dishes than you think you will need — no one at the table will fuss over that extra bowl of angel hair pasta with creamy uni and salmon roe. Lastly, be adventurous. Your reward will be springy jellyfish and cucumber salad, grilled black pork belly, and crispy fish salad with onions.
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John Linn