The 500 hundred block of Southard is fast becoming its own dining district. Forerunners The Café and Kojin paved the way for tasty, fresh ingredient-driven cuisine. Miso Happy is the new kid on the block, adding the availability of great sushi — a cuisine that has historically been hard to come by in Key West. The restaurant also offers Thai appetizers and entrees, with standout comfort food fare like an excellent rendition of Crab Rangoon (“Phen’s Famous”), classic, cloud-like shumai, and, for heartier fare, a wide variety of noodles, rice, and stir fries.
The Miso Happy sushi bar has fresh fish and prepared ingredients spread the length of it on display, from eel and smoked salmon to yellowtail snapper, escolar and ahi tuna. The veggies are crisp and fresh, and better yet, the service is friendly and welcoming. A sushi chef offers an appetizer — lightly seared tuna in a spicy soy dressing, with shredded carrots.
The menu dedicates a full side for sushi. And the special rolls are huge — no human really needs more than one, but I was up for the challenge.
In the Mango Tango roll: the mango is fresh, sweet and firm, layered expertly over the sushi rice and dotted with hot sauce. The shrimp tempura inside is perfectly crispy. The Love Duval Roll is beautiful in presentation, dotted with tobiko and tempura flakes. It has so many flavors and textures: avocado, asparagus, fresh tuna, Japanese mayo, scallions, tobiko, shrimp tempura … but somehow none of them get lost. The fish all taste super fresh, the rolls well balanced and rich.
Miso Happy covers the gamut from tempura to raw preparations, noodle and rice dishes to sashimi. The woman next to me had ordered a dramatic roll piled high with fresh tuna — she said it was called “the Ocean Roll.” And the menu even features a Key West Conch Roll, with spicy conch and kimchi.
My only regret at Miso Happy? That I couldn’t eat more. It’s a place to return to try everything on the menu.