Sun Sentinel Broward Edition
Sushi Garage rolls into Las Olas tower
Nine months after acclaimed Japanese eatery Etaru flopped inside the ritzy Icon Las Olas tower in Fort Lauderdale, another acclaimed Japanese restaurant will roll in its place: Sushi Garage.
The 6,200-square-foot sushi restaurant, set to debut in mid-April, comes from husbandand-wife team Jonás and Alexandra Millán and chef-partner Sunny Oh (Nobu), who ran Sushi Garage’s flagship in Miami Beach and cooked at its even-ritzier cousin, Juvia, the rooftop eatery on the penthouse level of the 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage.
Sushi Garage Las Olas will be a garage in name only, unlike the Miami Beach original, which opened in 2016 in a former auto shop. Jonás Millán admits that creating a garage-like ambiance in a 45-story, multimillion-dollar apartment tower was complicated. “We tried to incorporate garage doors, but with our accelerated time frame for opening, we couldn’t do it in time,” he says.
Describing Sushi Garage as a “casual neighborhood eatery,” Millán says the 225-seat restaurant does familiar dishes that are fairly experimental yet rarely expensive — although price points suggest otherwise. The menu, identical to the Miami Beach flagship, will feature 33 common and specialty rolls ($3-$24, from California
to hamachi-scallion rolls), miso soup ($4.50) and shrimp tempura ($15), plus entrees such as miso maple sea bass ($37) and sliced tenderloin teriyaki with rice ($36).
The rest of the cuisine is firmly traditional Japanese, with some fusion flourishes under Oh and his protégés, corporate chef Kaoru Chang and pastry chef Gregory Gourreau. Stone pot fried rice ($16) — a Korean staple — for example, cooks proteins (choice of organic chicken, tenderloin or shrimp) and sushi rice in the stone pot with shiitakes, crunchy baby carrots and zucchini.
Sushi Garage’s fresh specialty rolls ($11-$24) also receive creative twists, including the Rosemary Eel Roll topped with white pepper-infused rosemary aioli and crisp rosemary flakes — what Jonás Millán calls an “unusual marriage” of freshwater eel and the aromatic herb. The menu is also brazen with rolls like the tuna chicharron ($24), made with crispy tuna skin.
Although Sushi Garage faces Las Olas its 75-seat wraparound patio connects with the Historic Stranahan House Museum’s plaza behind Icon Las Olas. Inside the dining room, at least 200 pastel koi fish sculptures suspend from the ceiling amid an open kitchen, oak-colored walls, teak tables and an assortment of ginger plants and succulents. Each LED tabletop lantern doubles as a soy sauce caddy.
“My wife, Alexandra, took a big part in design and brought brighter colors into the space,” Jonás Millán says. “The tables are teak, so it has that tree-trunk feel. There is a language in our design, like the handmade chairs, that reflect craftsmanship because sushi is also about craftsmanship. It’s about turning a fish into a dish.”
Also debuting is Sunny Poke, Oh’s Hawaiian poke pop-up inside Sushi Garage that will first be offered as a virtual restaurant on food-delivery apps. Eventually, Oh’s menu will be served only on the terrace between noon and 6 p.m. daily. A third Sushi Garage is scheduled to open by summer inside Coconut Grove’s CocoWalk.
Sushi Garage, at 500 E. Las Olas Blvd., Suite 100, in downtown Fort Lauderdale, will debut in mid-April. Hours of operation will be 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, with 5-8 p.m. daily happy hour. Call 954-7273533 or go to SushiGarage. com.
“There is a language in our design, like the handmade chairs, that reflect craftsmanship because sushi is also about craftsmanship. It’s about turning a fish into a dish.” Jonás Millán, Sushi Garage Las Olas co-owner