Chotto Matte Bento Box is a stack of Peruvian/Japanese fusion

I have to admit, I had a tough time finding Chotto Matte, probably because it’s down an alley and faces the off ramp of a parking garage. This made the arrival even more intriguing.

Also, the fact that the sign for the restaurant is in clear plexiglass against a white wall.

But what a sight when I did find it. Walking up to the hostess stand I was greeted by sunlight filtering through the center of the restaurant and plenty of indoor trees. This place felt like I was sitting outside, but indoors.

I loved watching the bartenders working from my table. I purposely chose a table at the center of the restaurant, under that filtering light. After glancing at the menu, I knew if I wanted a great sampling of the menu I needed to order the Bento Box. At $30 this is a serious bargain in my book.

Miso soup and corn canchas

First, the adorable black covered soup cup was brought out. The waiter advised that sipping straight from the cup is customary in Japanese culture but he could bring me a spoon if I wanted. I chose to sip, slowly, savoring every last drop of this perfect miso soup. The little traditional Peruvian corn puffs (or canchas) were great nibblers too.

Then came the beautiful Bento Box, an oval-shaped and stacked shiny black container with all the goods.

Bottom of Bento Box with chicken teriyaki, broccoli, calamari and shishito peppers

All the way to the left was the sweet chicken teriyaki atop sticky rice and next to that steamed broccoli huacatay which had just a hint of spice. The bright colors made it just as exciting bite after bite.

In the next partition, the most interesting and delicate calamari I’d ever tasted. Probably because it had a very light, tempura coating and was dusted with a seven-spice Nikkei seasoning and dehydrated onion. The aji amarillo emulsion for dipping took it over the top! And finally in the last partition, shishito peppers that are seriously impossible to stop eating. They’re served in a den miso which gives them outstanding flavor.

Sushi portion of the Bento Box

In the second oval container were three pieces of Nikkei sashimi one topped with salmon and sesame seeds, another with a piece of purple Japanese eggplant and sesame seeds (my favorite and something I’d never had) and a final one topped with tuna and colorful, bright green wasabi eggs. The spicy salmon, yellowtail cut roll was refreshing and the aji amarillo sauce topping it (the same as the one to dip the calamari) was perfect here too. The tasty salad with a tart, vinegar based dressing and juicy tomatoes was a nice accompaniment.

The personal sized dessert of Peruvian chocolate cream and cape gooseberry dusted with green tea powder was just the right size. The prune puree at the bottom made a nice surprise when dipping the spoon to the bottom.

Bathroom mirrors at Chotto Matte

 

Neon-colored mural at Chotto Matte

And as unusual as this may sound, even the bathroom was an interesting experience here. The neon-colored mural on the wall just outside the bathroom door and the mirrors inside the bathroom were really cool.

The Peruvian-Japanese fusion is great here, you can tell the chefs and cooks take great care in preparing the dishes just right. They work in an open kitchen that’s visible from just about everywhere, making it a focal point for diners.

Chotto Matte, 1664 Lenox Ave., Miami Beach, 305.690.0743

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