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Competition's Got Nothing on Makoto; 3 Stars for The Villa by Barton G

Lee Klein loved Makoto and says it's "sure to bring comparisons to Nobu, Zuma and Sugarcane . . . orchestrated by a noteworthy chef with a yen for producing pristine sushi and exquisite contemporary Asian cuisine." Chef Makoto Okuwa's stint on Iron Chef aside, "this space is by far the most subdued of [restaurateur Stephen] Starr's signature showy designs." Sushi and sashimi selections are "exceptional," while chef Okuwa shows a "sense of whimsy" in dishes like frosty Kobe fried rice and spicy tuna crispy rice. Words used to describe the robata-grilled food: "alluring," and "lusciousness." Ramen was "riveting." There's a lot more praise including "better than what you have had," and, finally, "When it comes to creative contemporary Japanese cuisine, however, the competition has nothing on Makoto." [MNT]

Victoria Pesce Elliott swanks it up at The Villa by Barton G , where "Chef Jeff O'Neill's food is a fine fit." The menu, VPE says, is "appealingly brief and dotted with foie gras, Dover sole, Caspian caviar and other luxury ingredients." The menu, says O'Neill, is "a tip of the hat to the old-fashioned gastronomic restaurant," and it seems that VPE agrees. What worked was a long list of dishes including "perfectly poached nuggets of Maine lobster," "exquisite heirloom vegetable salad," steak tartare, vodka-cured salmon, spotted skate, and more. Service was "formal, but not stuffy." The two things she didn't love were the Villa Salad and a "musty dining room." Bottom line: 3 stars. [Miami.com]

Makoto

9700 Collins Avenue, , FL 33154 (305) 864-8600 Visit Website

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