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A Sushi ‘Speakeasy’ Is Opening in the Former Versace Mansion

New York City’s Sushi by Bou is setting up a 4-seat eatery in Gianni’s Suite at Villa Casa Casuarina

New York City’s Sushi by Bou is opening its first South Florida outpost in February inside none other than Gianni’s Suite at the notorious Versace Mansion, which now goes by the name Villa Casa Casuarina (1116 Ocean Drive).

Guests will “check-in” with the front desk attendant in the lobby who hands over a key card and escorts them to Sushi by Bou. The 500 square-foot suite has been transformed into a four-seat sushi bar with a modern neoclassic style that gives a nod to the mansion’s over-the-top existing architecture and design while giving it an updated look.

Once at the sushi counter, guests dine on a 60-minute omakase meal for $125 inclusive of tax and gratuity. Items rotate frequently but guests can expect dishes like ikura, uni, fatty tuna, and Hokkaido scallops topped with smoked charcoal salt In place of a typical hotel mini bar, the suite is equipped with a self-service sake vending machine where guests can select three sakes for $30.

Sushi by Bou first debuted in New York City in spring of 2017, but wasn’t without controversy. Its chef David Bouhadana drew attention months after opening inside the Gansevoort Market when Eater reported that the white chef had been using a fake Asian accent during service. Sushi Bou ended up leaving the market by the end of 2017, with reps telling Eater that the relationship ended “amicably.”

However, according to Eater NY that the departure wasn’t so amicable, noting, “Multiple sources within the market also say that Bouhadana made ‘derogatory comments towards the culture of food he prides himself on’ and toward employees at other vendors in Gansevoort, including comments that they considered racist. The chef continued to use a fake Asian accent, one source says, noting that it’s one reason he wasn’t welcome anymore.” Bouhadana called those allegations in a statement to Eater, “completely misinformed.”

The chef also had a well publicized a public battle with the Department of Health over having to wear gloves while making sushi at his former restaurant, Sushi Dojo, which he called a “BS rule” that he didn’t stand by.

The restaurant now has three outposts in New York City, with two more in the works. It’s Miami location is slated to open in early February. Reservations can be made here.

UPDATE (Jan. 14, 2019): In a previous version of this piece it stated that one of the reasons Bouhadana had left Gansevoort Market was because of his battle with the Department of Health, but the dispute occurred while he was at his previous restaurant, Sushi Dojo.

UPDATE (March 7, 2019): Since the initial publication of this article, Sushi by Bou and Chef Bouhadana have denied that Chef Bouhadana made derogatory comments toward the culture of his food or individuals at the Gansevoort market. With their written denials, they provided e-mail correspondence with a former member of management at Gansevoort claiming that Sushi by Bou left the Gansevoort market of its own accord for a variety of business reasons unrelated to these accusations, that prior to her departure management of the market asked Sushi by Bou to stay on as a tenant, and that she personally had not witnessed or heard of any of the allegations referenced in this article by other vendors at the market.