Popular Miami Design District Nikkei restaurant, Itamae, has announced it will end its current a la carte service on August 27 and move into a new location in Midtown Miami under a (slightly) new name and new concept: Itamae Ao. The new restaurant, housed next door to its sister restaurant Maty’s, will offer a more intimate omakase experience accommodating only 12 guests at a time.
“This move will not only allow us to craft the experience we want for our diners on all levels, but to provide our incredible family of hospitality professionals with a more sustainable working environment, and one that will make for a more elevated evening for our guests and friends,” said chef and co-owner Nando Chang. “In this new setting, we’re excited to be able to better craft more of that experience very soon.”
The concept behind “Itamae Ao” was inspired by the Chang family and its traditions. “Ao” translates to ‘blue’ in Japanese, a homage to the Chang family’s ancestral ties to the ocean. Chefs and siblings Nando and Val Chang intend for the new setup to showcase inspirations from their grandparents’ origins in the seaport towns of Pacasmayo and Barranca.
But the team isn’t leaving the Miami Design District. Itamae’s current location will be transformed into the third installment of the group’s fast-casual Nikkei sushi counter, B-Side. This venture already boasts two branches: inside Wynwood’s 1-800-LUCKY food hall and at the Kaseya Center. B-Side Design District will be an homage to the original Itamae location, with select a la carte dishes from Itamae’s greatest hits, including the Tiradito Apaltado and both the Octopus and Hokkaido Scallop Bañaditos.
“We know that the more casual dining experience that B-Side offers will be a wonderful addition to the district’s ever-evolving dining options, and a quick stop for delicious sushi is something visitors will be better able to incorporate into a day of sightseeing and shopping in the neighborhood.”
Itamae’s last day of service in its current location will be Sunday, August 27. B-Side Miami Design District is anticipated to open a few weeks later, and Itamae Ao is slated to debut this fall at 3255 NE 1st Avenue.