The Casual Restaurant Critic enjoying some salmon at the classy Miyabi in Merida.
The Casual Restaurant Critic thinks he may have found a new favourite sushi restaurant in Merida. Opened (and operated) by a 14 year veteran of Cancuns Yamamoto restaurant, tiny sushi-lovers delight Miyabi is tucked unceremoniously in the little strip mall on Montejo where you can also find Carls Junior (formerly Checkers), Segafredo and the underwhelming Ca’ d’Oro Italian restaurant.
Unceremoniously doesn’t mean that this is an unattractive restaurant; far from it! It is all white inside, with a granite sushi bar and many real Japanese decorations brought over from Japan by the chefs Better Half, who is charming and hails from the land of the rising sun.
The Critic and HIS Better Half sat at the slightly uncomfortable sushi bar – uncomfortable because the stools don’t have that cross brace on the bottom which leaves your feet dangling and strains the back. Does this sound like an old fart or what – and ordered directly from the chef/owner. The highlight was a special roll called Nozumi, which featured chopped scallops and heated smoked eel, but all the dishes ordered (sushi – rolls and nigiri only) were excellent. The Critic enjoyed immensely the fact that the raw fish was ice cold and fresh tasting; the chef commented that he only orders what he plans on selling so as to keep things fresh and if it runs out, well better luck next time. This was the case with the salmon (sake, or shake as they call it here) which was no more, much to the Critics chagrin, who ordered a fat slab of fresh cold tuna on a nigiri piece. Fantastic.
After the late lunch, the chef and his lovely wife comped a dessert – red bean ice cream. This is not made on the premises, but brought from Mexico City where a Japanese family makes this and other (Lychee, Green Tea) ice creams.
Miyabi has been open for about two months and apparently, business is booming. Go for lunch soon, but late, as it tends to fill up and you will have to wait in the 40 degree heat outside. And that’s not a pretty picture.
On one occasion, the Critic had to visit the washroom and, in spite of Mini-Critic’s warnings against doing so, visited the men’s room. The accompanying photo can give potential diners of what they will find. The complete absence of any aesthetic considerations is astonishing. Note the professional electrical installation with several wires sticking out next to the tiny sink. The lack of any kind of toilet seat on the WC is another nod to third world expectations.
If this is what is visible to the public’s naked eye, what doesn’t happen in the kitchen?
But they are a very popular choice. Price seems to be the main attraction, along with the fact that they are feeding to their clientele what that clientele thinks is exotic Japanese food. On weekends and nights, the place is jumping.
The Critic gives it a solid 2 out of 5.