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Taste Of The Town: Miami Spice Gives Foodies Chance To Sample Delicious Japanese Food From 'Zuma'

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Miami's popular restaurant promotion, Miami Spice, is back and with it, comes the chance to sample some of the city's most delicious and upscale food spots, including one that's taking authentic Japanese food to a whole new level.

Welcome to Zuma, one of Miami's most popular high end restaurants, featuring modern Japanese food that is authentic, but not traditional.

There are some 14 Zuma eateries around the world.

The name means stepping away from traditions.

The vibe is soft and inviting with natural products and textures showcased by an open kitchen that livens things up.

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"Especially at night time when we're cooking steaks and the fires are flaring up, you hear the chef yelling.  It's a wonderful feeling in a restaurant to see all the buzz. It makes you happy to be cooking," said Executive Chef Daniel Garner.

Wonderful is the word, day and night at this hotspot.

"Almost every night there's a secret reservation and they come in through the back door and eat in the back room. They want that secrecy and we provide it for them," Garner said.

Zuma is participating in the 18th year of the Miami Spice Program, three course dinners for less.

The program was created by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and it's bigger than ever.

"We have more than 250 restaurants this year, offering great deals for August and September. Lunch and brunch is priced at $23 and dinner $39 per person," said Janel Blanco of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Prices do not include tax, tip or drinks.

Back in the kitchen, Chef Garner prepares a Miami Spice tasting menu for selected days of lunch and dinner.

He's grilling up some giant tiger prawns on the robatta grill, served with yuzu dressing.

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"You mentioned that you kept it a tiny bit under cooked on the inside. It gives it texture and a nice juiciness with a little heat that works," said CBS4's Lisa Petrillo.

"That's the yuzu chili sauce. It has a lot of flavor, but it's simple at the same time. We like to keep it simple and let it be what it is," said Chef Garner.

Next on the dinner menu, Spicy Beef Tenderloin.

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Spicy Beef Tenderloin (CBS4)

"The spice comes from the chili flakes. There's also some sugar inside so you're going to get some sweet to it and a little spice at the end," said Chef Garner.

A sample of the Sashimi Chirashi follows. It's a bowl with tuna, salmon and yellow tail sitting on sushi rice topped with salmon roe and chili ponzu sauce.

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To finish off, two desserts, the Ginger Panna Cotta and a Miso Caramel Cake.

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Ginger Panna Cotta (CBS4)
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Miso Caramel Cake (CBS4)

Zuma is thrilled to be participating in the Miami Spice Program again this year.

"We want people to experience Zuma and it makes it more accessible to everyone, so they can see what it's all about. So they can experience this level of food and dining," said Chef Garner.

Miami Spice is on now through September 30th.

Zuma has selected days on the program. The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and brunches on the weekend.

For more on Miami Spice and participating restaurants, visit this website and for more on Zuma visit here.

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