Chef Bee is easily the most recognized Thai chef in the city. Oishi Thai, his beloved restaurant in North Miami Beach, regularly makes city’s best lists. He also got a lot of ink working on the opening of 50 Eggs’ Khong River House. Now, his profile is about to get even higher with the opening of his long-awaited Sunset Harbour restaurant, NaiYaRa.
Chef Bee’s full name is Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, and he grew up in the Chiang Rai province in Northern Thailand bordering Laos and Myanmar. He lived with his family on a farm and learned how to make Thai street food from his grandmother after spending summers at her house in a nearby village. When Chef Bee arrived in Miami, he worked as a sushi chef at Nobu Miami Beach, and later at Siam River, before opening Oishi Thai.
The restaurant itself is stunning. It is rustic, yet polished, and transports diners to far away places with a Asian street theme. It features an open kitchen and details that make a visit worth the 18 month wait. Chef Bee’s cuisine is regional to the area he grew up in, and even includes a dish his mother used to make that’s on the menu under the name “Chiang Rai Curry” which features Egg noodles, and beef with a curry sauce.
The menu offers something for everyone, including a raw bar with Nobu-ish things like White Fish Truffle, Hamachi Sashimi, and Salmon Tacos. There are also four sushi rolls to select from, including fantastic renditions of the Spicy Tuna Roll and the Jalapeño Roll.
The most exciting things, however, are the dishes you can’t get anywhere else. Like the Beef Jerky, which is not as dry as it sounds and is rubbed with coriander, nahm jim jai sauce and served with Burmese sticky rice.
The Red Curry is not quite what you’d expect either. It’s actually a platter of crispy duck wading in a delicious red curry sauce with bell peppers and pineapple. Other favorites include the Burmese Wraps, Sriracha Wings, Pad Thai and Green Curry, which is served with Chilean Seabass to make it really stand out. Most of the dishes were not to spicy, but came with 5-alarm Thai bird chills on the side. Cocktails were not overlooked either. Bee hired Anthony “Tibor” Vecsesi to create a unique cocktail menu with a whisky focus.