By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – KYU Miami, arguably one of Wynwood’s most well-known restaurants, was once run by chef Michael Lewis.

“To keep it simple we describe it as wood-fired Asian cuisine. It is Asian at heart. There’s a lot of love in there. There is a lot of love in the ingredients. There’s also barbecue element to it,” Lewis described in 2016.

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Recently, chef Lewis sold out his portion of KYU and today his former right hand and head chef, Raheem Sealey is now at the helm in KYU’s kitchen as Executive Chef.  He agrees the success then and now is all about the love.

“The love is the key and the passion that goes into it,” said chef Sealey.

(CBS4)

Like many restaurants during the COVID-19 shutdown, KYU was forced to close for a bit, but they didn’t neglect their employees. Managers teamed up to package up donated produce to all who work there.

“We were all doing our part to make sure the employees at least had something to eat because it was tough, it was tough times. We wanted to make sure the grocery bags were being packed and they had something to cook, to at least put a meal on the table,” said chef Sealey.

Outdoor seating area at KYU in Wynwood. (CBS4)

Now this Wynwood hotspot is busier than ever, with an added mom and pop style, COVID inspired outside dining space.

The outside patio is where CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo joined chef Sealey.

“Now we’re here on a late afternoon, not lunchtime, not dinner time and you guys are still hopping,” said Lisa.

“Yes, we are still busy busy. It doesn’t stop,” said Sealey. “Then dinner comes, we’re slammed were packed and having a good time and then it’s time to go home again and do it all over again every day.”

Inside KYU, the look is a modern warehouse, clean and cool. As for the food, Sealey describes it simply.

“I think we get too carried away, as chefs sometimes we want to do too much and sometimes less is more. I think that’s where you want to keep it super simple, but very tasty,” he explained.

KYU’s Korean fried chicken with spinach and Korean chili butter

Tasty is exactly what to say about KYU’s top dish. The Korean fried chicken with spinach and Korean chili butter.

“There’s a creaminess to the sauce. It gives a little kick but not too much. It’s crunchy on the outside and super moist,” described Lisa while enjoying the dish.

Don’t forget that spinach!

“It’s little baby spinach that we blanch and then we sauté with a little bit of sesame oil salt and sashimi peppers,” said Sealey.

“That’s an incredible side! You cannot miss the spinach when you have this,” said Lisa.

KYU’s Florida red snapper cooked in a browned miso butter

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Next, she tried the Florida red snapper cooked in a browned miso butter.

“So, you’re supposed to get a little salty and sweet,” said the chef.

“I get the salty and sweet and it’s moist and smooth,” said Lisa.

Finally, the MacDaddy of potatoes. It’s KYU’s Japanese sweet potato with miso butter, parmesan cheese and then Japanese black sugar on top, which is torched.

KYU’s Japanese sweet potato with miso butter, parmesan cheese and then Japanese black sugar on top, which is torched. (CBS4)

“That’s insane,” exclaimed Lisa. “It’s a dessert. It’s a warm hug. It’s comforting and there’s some danger in there. It’s delicious.”

KYU is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Click here to go their website.

If you’d like to try the Florida Red Snapper at home, here is the KYU recipe:

Serves 4

MISO BUTTER INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sake
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp mirin
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp saikyo miso (see Note)
  • 3 Tbsp shiro miso
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature

METHOD:

In a small saucepan, combine sake and mirin and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, until the alcohol is burned off. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool, then stir in both miso.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip butter. Slowly add miso mixture and mix until incorporated. Set aside.

Note: Saikyo miso is a pale, mild miso from Kyoto, Japan. Because of its low- sodium content, it can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Shiro miso is a white miso made with fermented soybeans and rice. Both can be found in Japanese supermarkets.

RED SNAPPER INGREDIENTS: 

  • 4 (3 1/2-oz) skinless fresh Florida red snapper, (or any flaky white fish)
  • Kosher salt
  • Miso Butter (see above)

RED SNAPPER METHOD:

Make sure the filet is deboned and skin off. Preheat oven to 400 F.
Season fillets with salt.

Heat miso butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat, until butter turns foamy. Add fillets, presentation-side down, and leave for 1 minute untouched. Place pan into oven and bake for 5–10 minutes, until the internal temperature of the fish is 145 degrees F.

ASSEMBLY INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup celery leaves
  • 1 cup shiso or mint leaves 1 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 1⁄2 Tbsp Ponzu dressing or lemon vinaigrette
  • 1 Tbsp miso butter
  • 1 Tbsp shredded radish

ASSEMBLY METHOD: 

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In a bowl, combine all ingredients and toss gently to mix. Plate fillet on individual plates and serve with a side of the citrus herb salad, miso butter, and shredded radish. Brush fillets with a little extra miso butter if needed.

Lisa Petrillo