“International Sushi Day is on the best day of the year, as it falls on my birthday!” – Michael Schulson
Chef and restaurateur Michael Schulson is known for his passion for Asian cuisine. His award-winning restaurant, Monkitail at The Diplomat Beach Resort, gives locals and visitors alike a unique Japanese dining experience. Schulson explains “I decided on South Florida for two reasons, one being that The Diplomat Beach Resort is an iconic hotel, and two being that the area doesn’t have another sushi restaurant like Monkitail.” The restaurant has received several awards since it opened including the #1 Best Hotel Restaurant by USA Today. Tucked away beyond Monkitail’s main dining room is Nokku, a discreet karaoke lounge with four private rooms, each having full karaoke capabilities.
Schulson shares his favorite dishes from Monkitail, tips for making sushi at home, and favorite attractions in Miami:
Favorite Sushi Dishes from Monkitail:
- Tuna Roll – We have a great tuna roll at Monkitail. When I go to any other sushi restaurant, I like to order a tuna roll first. In my eyes, knowing how to make a sushi roll is essential – if you can’t make a great sushi roll, I’m not going to order anything else.
- Vegetable Roll – Monkitail’s Vegetable Roll is uniquely prepared. Instead of rice, we use cucumber on the outside, making the roll more refreshing. I love it.
- Lobster Roll – The Lobster Roll at Monkitail is slow poached and has a crispy tempura batter on the outside – making it one of my top three choices!
Favorite Robatayaki and Chef’s Tasting Table Dishes from Monkitail:
- The Short Rib and Scallop Robatayaki are two of my favorites. Robatayaki really allows the flavor to shine. These items’ freshness and quality is what matters most.
- I love the Edamame Dumpling. They are soft pillows of handmade dough, filled with edamame and truffle that melt in your mouth – it’s one of our signature items.
Tips for Making Sushi at Home:
- When making sushi, the most difficult part is preparing the rice. People study the rice and how to cook it for years at a time. I would suggest starting out by buying cooked rice from a sushi place you like and focusing on the fish and rolls.
- Start with the rolls as they are the easiest to work with. A very important part about making rolls is ensuring that you don’t overfill them. It’s really hard to make a roll that has too much filling.
Favorite Hollywood Attractions:
- Cafe Martorano – Cafe Martorano is an Italian restaurant founded by Philly-born Chef Steve Martorano. Try getting a reservation here – It’s totally worth it!
- Las Olas Boulevard – Las Olas is one of South Florida’s most unique shopping and dining districts. Take a walk down to the beach and put your feet in the sand.