Shanea Savours: Kaori by Walter Martino
Patrons are in for a treat! Kaori is Miami’s first 360-degree cinematography dining experience. The space is so aesthetically pleasing, with cutting edge technology, art, music and scents. The food presentation is most beautiful, a complete knockout in the terms of creativity.
Dubbed the “Millionaire Chef,” for creating the most expensive dish for an Arabian prince, Italian Chef Walter Marino has landed in Miami via Ibiza. This is his first restaurant and he has really gone above and beyond in the culinary entertainment area. His food is a fusion of Japanese with Italian influences. Kaori means “inner beauty” in Japanese.
The restaurant is small – it seats about 24 people and a few more around the bar. The chairs are colorful and the rest of the interior is a stark white. There are wild, electronic neon lights and cool music playing along with the beautiful series of images that were constantly changing images projected on the walls.
We tried a $94, 5-6 course tasting menu. However, I hear he also has $300, $500 and $700 tasting menus as well, which include cocktails, champagnes and wines. You can also dine a la carte.
The cuisine is new age with all the dishes handcrafted. The chef really thinks outside the box. But believe me, most Italians would shudder at the thought of mixing fish ceviche and a cheese dish on the same plate, it is an unusual pairing and is never done in Italy.
His dishes were seductive, while also decorative and kitschy. For example, the tempura course is served in a ceramic shoe or a golden purse.
In his sushi dish he omits the rice and serves the Iberico ham with a dollop of burrata. His trio of risottos were very good. One was topped with tuna, another was saffron risotto topped with a shrimp and his squid ink risotto was topped with salmon.
The dishware is exquisite and accessorized with ornaments to delight us and help create eye-popping presentations. The chef tries to take us on a journey for the senses. We were even given electronic cigarettes with an edible vaporizer that had an intoxicating scent of dulce de leche.
I was told Chef Marino sources the finest ingredients featuring things like truffles and edible gold leaf etc.
The crowd comes late here, settling in after 9 p.m. I’ll say there was certainly some great people watching the night we dined there.
All-in-all, it was a fun experience, with friendly, polished service.
They really try to exude a sense of luxury and exclusivity. Did I find the food sublime or refined? No, but it was innovative and a feast for the senses.
Is it somewhere I would want to dine often, no not really. But it is worth going just to experience the Chef’s culinary vision.
Recommended. Kaori by Walter Martino is located in Brickell at 1250 South Miami Avenue.