Temaris or ball sushi — warm mounds of rice with thin-sliced toppings drizzled in spicy sauces — was almost impossible to find in South Florida until Temaris opened on Brickell.
One wall of the mod space is covered with orange discs with a round fish logo that highlights the shape of the signature sushi. There’s also ceviche, tartares, sashimi and chef’s-choice omakase rolls that include the Spicy Femme with hamachi and avocado and the La Gitana with grilled beef and asparagus.
The concept is the brainchild of Alexander Perroni, who grew up poor with big dreams in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela. He came to Miami with a business plan, and worked as a dishwasher at a sushi place while he learned English from a waitress who became his wife.
Perroni joined forces with Salvador “Sal” Sacasa, a Nicaraguan who was a customer, and Javier Maldonado, a Spaniard who owns the Miami Avenue space. They hired Antonio Takahashi, a Japanese-Peruvian sushi chef, to run the kitchen.
Temari came from China to Japan as a football game, and became the name of colorful toy balls made from old kimonos and paper wrapped in silk threads. The word was appropriated again, this time for bite-size balls of sushi made for festive occasions.
At Brickell’s Temaris, toppings for the rice balls include spicy tuna, almond slivers, tobiko roe and ají amarillo cream; seared cobia with shallots and spicy ponzu, and salmon and cream cheese in mango sauce. A hot, crispy ball with a choice of salmon or tuna is crowned with a slice of habanero pepper and chile sauce, while the Miami has shrimp and guacamole drizzled in sweet kabayaki eel sauce.
Sip a sake sangria on the side, and end with passion fruit mousse.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.