MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Makoto Okuwa is a master chef who brings more than 20 years’ experience of Japanese cooking to his namesake restaurant at Bal Harbour shops, Makoto, which opened in 2011.

Despite the hefty competition of many other sushi restaurants in town, Makoto has now become a top spot for discerning foodies and celebrities alike.

CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo asked the chef how he separates himself from the other top Japanese restaurants.

“I don’t think we can ever separate because they’re always competitive with us. But it’s nice to have competitors to measure ourselves, we can grow better. We always keep an eye on the competition that’s for sure,” Okuwa said.

Appearing several times alongside his mentor Iron Chef Morimoto on The Food Network,  Makoto is one who never stops learning and creating. His signature Frosted Kobe Beef is a top seller at the restaurant.

“That idea came from one of dish I created for Iron Chef when I was in a challenge. The concept is hot and cold meets together and creates new type of texture and flavor,” Makoto said.

Along with local fish, Makoto receives shipments from Japan three times a week, Japanese red snapper which was the special on the sashimi combination platter. He demonstrated the proper way to eat sashimi.

“After putting the piece of fish in the soy sauce,  pick up a little wasabi and place it  on top of fish and grab it and eat. It’s the best way to eat sashimi,” he said.

The Kobe Air Bread is also a Makoto special: a quickly seared slice of Kobe beef sits atop a puffed cracker filled with special horseradish foam.

Anthony Wark, manager of Makoto, explains the signature Frosted Kobe Beef as,”It’s filet mixed with onions and sesame seeds, its frozen and then we char it with a torch. When you get it to the table, it’s filled with great textures.”

Petrillo explained the dish as an amazing combination of flavors.

For Makoto having his own kitchen is his lifelong dream come true  that he never takes for granted.

“Do you have fun with it?” said Petrillo.

“Absolutely. It’s my life” he said.

Makoto is now on the Miami Spice menu. For more info:


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