He’s Japanese. She’s Colombian. Their Sunny Isles sushi spot fuses their countries’ flavors

Mixed seafood ceviche at Shigemi Japanese
Mixed seafood ceviche at Shigemi Japanese Linda Bladholm

Shigemi Japanese is a new old school-style Japanese restaurant that will soon seem like home.

Don’t expect flashy knife shows here (although the owner worked for Benihana for 25 years). This is a mom and pop with a small bar in back where you can sip sake, beer and wine. Portions are large and feature fresh fish and reasonable prices. Owner Mutsuhiko “Yani” Yuhara is from a small rural town on the southern tip of Honshu, the main island of Japan. He grew up harvesting rice and vegetables and came to the U.S. through a student exchange program. His wife Martha is Colombian but grew up in Venezuela where the two met. They named the eatery after their oldest daughter. Shigemi means “beauty” and is also a main-belt asteroid.

Start With These Dishes

Yellowtail tiradito at Shigemi Japanese Linda Bladholm

The house-made kimchee with scallion stalks tingles the tongue but is not fiery. Or try hiyayakko, cubes of cold silken tofu with bonito flakes, grated ginger and chopped scallions in soy sauce.

Sautéed mushrooms bring a tangle of nutty, chewy shimeji, smoky shiitake and meaty Portobello. Izakaya-style tapas include squid wok-fried in butter and soy sauce, panko-breaded and fried oysters, grilled smokey arabiki sausages made from course ground pork.

The Hamachi kama is a grilled tender yellowtail cheek in ponzu. There’s also yellowtail tiradito with slices of jalapeño in ponzu. Mixed ceviche has tuna, octopus, salmon, shrimp and diced mango.

Share These Dishes

Start with the vegetable fried rice made with al dente short grain sushi rice. The viper sushi roll with crab, cucumber, cream cheese and avocado is topped with grilled eel.

The pork ramen is made with strained bone broth, giving it a deep flavor without it feeling heavy. Springy egg noodles in the bottom of the bowl are topped with a slice of barbecue pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, wisps of nori and half a hard-boiled egg.

Pork bone broth ramen at Shigemi Japanese Linda Bladholm

Japanese curry is sweet and mild, served with breaded fried shrimp katsu, rice and red pickled ginger. Zaru soba are chilled buckwheat noodles with a dipping sauce of soy, mirin, ginger and scallion. Add a side of vegetable and shrimp tempura to accompany the noodles.

Special rolls include the Pollo Salsa, grilled chicken, greens, daikon sprouts, mango and tomato salsa, a nod to Miami and the Sunny Isles.

The viper roll topped with eel at Shigemi Japanese Linda Bladholm

Save Room For Dessert

Shigemi Japanese’s tempura ice cream Linda Bladholm

With the tempura ice cream, a big vanilla ice cream ball is wrapped in a thin cooked pancake, frozen, dipped in tempura batter and deep fried. The balls are split and stuffed with whipped cream and strawberries.

Hidden Gems highlights out-of-the-way restaurants in Miami-Dade County. It is not intended to be an anonymous, critical review.

Shigemi Japanese

Address: 17630 Collins Ave., in the RK Beach Place Plaza, Sunny Isles

Contact: 305-213-4849,

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday noon-11 p.m.

Prices: Appetizers $6-$16, rolls $5-$23, ceviche $8-$16, entrees $9-$16, desserts $6-$11

F.Y.I. Free parking in an adjacent lot