I visited Zuma in London a few times when I lived there. Not frequently because prices were high and portions tiny. I would end up tallying the beans and working out the price per bean. Inevitably the value balance would tip into a zone where I just couldn’t enjoy the food any more. A pity because it is very good food.My father met us in Miami for New Year’s and he treated a bunch of us to dinner at Zuma. We showed up 45 minutes late for our 6:30 reservation (oooops!) and were punished by being seated at what is probably the worst table in the place, a dark corner table in between two doors across from the check in desk. It was so dark – the waitress handed us a small flashlight so that we could see what was on the menu.
Miami style is pretty much the opposite of Berlin. Whilst extensive tattoos and earlobe plugs (to stretch the ear lobes – ya, my thoughts exactly – why, would anyone want to stretch their ear lobes?) are de rigueur there it’s all about diamonds here. Big diamonds. The size of a small quail’s egg. Ok, ok, the size of a quail yolk – which is still large. On tanned manicured fingers. Everyone has implants (even the men), long hair, short skirts, impossibly high shoes pose no problem because the wearers arrive by car or even better – yacht. I keep hearing whispers of Latin America being the next big thing and looking around Zuma in Miami, I no longer find it to be such a far-fetched idea. The only non-South Americans were the servers and us.
Wagyu beef is sold at $26 an ounce with the minimum order of 6 ounces. That’s $156 for 170 grams. (A packet of butter, by the way, is 250g.) I tried to dissuade my father from ordering it to no avail only to be told that they were out of Wagyu that night (I guess if those ladies are wearing $150,000 diamond rings, they can probably afford a $200 steak.) My father spots the lobster tempura and orders that instead. Actually, I don’t think that lobster is suited to tempura but the presentation is arresting.
Most cold dishes at Zuma come in large stone or ceramic plates brimming with crushed ice. The long sashimi sharing platter looks impressive, my mind is saying “Weeeeeeeeeeee – Wow!!” When I manage to focus on the actual sashimi, I see that it’s all smoke and mirrors. The artfully arranged wasabi, flowers and shiso leaves make everything look abundant. However, all thoughts of stinginess dissolve the moment I bring one of those tasty morsels to my mouth. Sashimi as it should be. Firm, chilled from the ice – the salmon and tuna have right angles if you can believe such a thing. Everyone should experience sashimi like that, not just Latin American oligarchs.You don’t have to splurge on the sashimi platter. The grilled corn is out of this world good. The tempura floats out the platter at some point (not really but tasted like it could). The tuna tataki is so good I order a second. Zuma is expensive and its patrons border on totally silly but if you can do it, perhaps if there is a lunch deal on, do it.
270 Biscayne Boulevard Way