by Kasey Caminiti | June 17, 2021 11:00 am
Global hospitality empire Major Food Group (founded by Jeff Zalaznick, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi) has expanded its New York City restaurant mainstays to Florida. Following the debut of Carbone in South of Fifth earlier this year, the partners are continuing the trend of bringing New York establishments into the Miami restaurant scene with the opening of ZZ’s Sushi Bar restaurant and membership club in the Design District. “With ZZ’s Sushi Bar, we want to build a home away from home for the people of this vibrant, diverse city,” says Zalaznick. “It’s a dream come true to be able to create these dynamic spaces in this remarkable neighborhood.”
In just 10 years, Major Food Group has pioneered a celebratory style of dining at its New York City restaurants, which include The Grill, The Lobster Club, The Pool, ZZ’s Clam Bar, Dirty French and Santina. The brand boasts 19 stars from The New York Times and three from the Michelin Guide, as well as numerous distinctions from the James Beard Foundation. They’ve also successfully opened dining concepts in Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Along the way, the brand has forged a partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation, one of New York City’s most important forces in the fight against poverty.
The new Japanese restaurant and membership club was designed by MFG’s longtime collaborator Ken Fulk. “ZZ’s has always been about surprise and delight,” says Fulk. “In Miami, we wanted to amplify these qualities by creating a true urban oasis—a playful yet glamorous environment with old-school touches and bold flourishes. I would describe it as a tropical tuxedo: dressed up but ready to party.” The restaurant boasts a custom marble sushi counter, sleek private bar and lounge, outdoor cigar lounge and a backgammon terrace. “ZZ’s is about exclusivity and luxury,” says Zalaznick. “The best food, the best drinks and the best people. We are excited to share this concept with all of our friends in Miami. It is something very special.”
The two-floor restaurant will have the largest offering of Wagyu beef in the United States along with an impressive menu curated by chefs Masa Ito and Kevin Kim that will feature a number of ZZ’s classics as well as dishes created specifically for Miami. “Kevin and I couldn’t be happier to be in Miami,” says Ito. “This is the experience we have always wanted to bring to life, and it’s an honor to do it with MFG. We can’t wait to get to know our guests, bring them joy, and take our craft to the next level.” Specialties include steaks cooked over custom-built charcoal grills, handmade lobster dumplings, an indulgent Wagyu katsu sando with truffles, innovative sushi rolls and a signature caviar temaki. “For ZZ’s, we went a step further and focused primarily on Japanese food,” says Zalaznick. “Our fish is sourced directly from Japan; in addition, we have the largest selection of Wagyu beef and exotic Japanese steaks in Miami, if not the entire country.”
The ground-floor space showcases curving bentwood banquettes, walls with hand-painted malachite insets, animal-print rugs, brass palm pendant lights and vintage-inspired clamshell dining chairs. For the first-floor patio, Fulk dreamt up a “tiki bar on acid” that combines wicker furnishings in a bespoke banana leaf print with modern shapes to complement the bold angular lines of the architecture. Upstairs, the various spaces offer early ’80s disco vibes with custom banquettes, fringed stools, metallic leather, animal prints, velvet, neon and rose gold shattered mirrored accents. “ZZ’s in Miami is the first Major Food Group private membership club,” says Zalaznick. “It felt right to open a very exclusive, high-end, private club in the Design District. I wanted to differentiate from other private clubs that don’t necessarily place a heavy emphasis on food and rare culinary offerings.”
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