Machiya is a sleek, Japanese-style izakaya (pub) offering ramen, rolls, sushi, sashimi, shui mai, buns, lettuce wraps and seafood. It is named for townhouses in urban centers of Japan with street-level stores, not unlike Midtown.
Owner Pitak “Koko” Hermkhunthod is Thai, but spent years in Japan mastering the intricacies of its cuisine. He makes the soup stocks and sushi. Nicaraguan-born Juan Angulo manages, and Michael Castino is chef de cuisine.
Ramen is made with thin kansui (wheat flour) noodles in bone broth. Kyushu-style bakudon (the bomb) has a base made with karami (spicy) miso and pork broth with braised pork belly, naruto maki (fish paste swirls), nitamago (marinated soft-boiled egg), garlic and scallions.
Hokkaido-style starts with umami-rich malted miso with fish broth and king crab, mussels, scallops, shrimp, cloud ear mushrooms, cabbage and kuro mayu (dark, smoky garlic oil). One can add mustard greens, menatiko (spicy pollack roe) or a poached egg.
Shoyu ramen is vegan with tofu, seaweed and wasabi seasoned bamboo shoots. Crispy brussels sprouts with bacon, walnuts and yuzu are good with roasted sea bass or seared salmon.
Green tea crème brulee makes for a sweet end.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.