The food is the star of the show at this new Design District cocktail lounge

Grilled potato robatayaki in truffle cream with bonito at Kaido
Grilled potato robatayaki in truffle cream with bonito at Kaido Lucky Frog Studios / Juan Fernando Ayora

James Beard-nominated chef Brad Kilgore expands his empire beyond Wynwood with Kaido, the first of two openings this year in the Design District. Globally-recognized drinks guru Nico de Soto heads up the cocktail program.

Kilgore describes this new place as more of a restaurant-lounge hybrid. “We can be a bar, a lounge, a full-blown restaurant, a place to escape. It’s got a little bit for everyone,” he says. “I like to think at Kaido, like at all my restaurants, we have everything from $14 chicken thigh skewer and a $15 cocktail. So anyone can try our restaurant but also if you really want to go for it we have those options as well.”

The space:


Located on the second floor of Paradise Plaza in the Design District, the noir-ish lair is outfitted with a striking 1,000 Butterfly Knife chandelier hanging above the bar. Miami-born designer, Mark Alan Diaz of MAD Designs created that chandelier, as well as the rest of the restaurant’s design which includes black lacquered woodwork, cozy booths and black marble tables. A hidden bar called “Ama” is accessible via a discreet side door and will be the setting for “amakase” meals – Kilgore’s take on traditional multi-course Japanese tasting dinners. It also doubles as a nightcap spot with rare whiskies available and an authentic Japanese pachinko game on display.

Be prepared to eat:

Kilgore’s spin on Asian cuisine. The menu is comprised mostly of small Izakaya-style plates with some larger shareable mains as well. Prices are in keeping with the posh neighborhood with dishes ranging $12-$27 and larger dishes $36-$99 and even higher for caviar service.

Street-food style bites like crab rangoon and dumplings are elevated here with the addition of blue crab and Iberico pork and shrimp while robatayaki skewers can be had with lemongrass duck sausage, enoki mushroom and Nikkei-style octopus.

KAIDO by Brad Kilgore
Hamachi with grapefruit ponzu sauce at Kaido Juan Fernando Ayora Lucky Frog Studios / Juan Fernando Ayora

The uni fondue is already garnering plenty of buzz with its rich Parmesan blended with sea urchin roe and red miso. It comes on a platter with rock shrimp, scallops and calamari as well as steamed vegetables and Asian spices. The green papaya salad is a refreshing presentation of shredded broccoli stem and Thai vinaigrette. High rollers coming off shopping sprees in the district may opt for pricey bites of grilled foie gras, wagyu tataki and binchotan-grilled King Crab legs.

Cleanse the palate and end on a sweet note with a pineapple-yuzu kakigori, a Japanese shaved ice dessert.

Bottom Line:

With Kaido, Brad Kilgore embraces pan-Asian flavors and sophisticated cocktail culture.