Before they opened B-Side in the Design District and at Wynwood’s 1-800-Lucky food hall, the Chang family built up a reputation as culinary legends in Miami. The family made a name for itself as masters of Nikkei cuisine with their two other restaurants: Itamae Ao, an omakase concept that gained recognition from the Michelin Guide, and Maty’s, a 150-seat restaurant that was recently named to the New York Times’ 2023 list of “The 50 Restaurants in the U.S. We’re Most Excited About Right Now.” Now, B-Side will serve up the flavors the family is known for in a casual, convenient and late-night setting, making it ideal for dining in or out.
The menu features Executive Chef Fernando Chang’s signature and creative takes on sushi rolls and bowls in greatest hits like the Sansho Roll (crispy shrimp, torched salmon, avocado and special sauce), the Lost in Translation (tuna, salmon, avocado, crispy quinoa, and aji amarillo mayo) and their cebiche (red onion, tostones and aji limo leche de tigre).
Chang, who is lovingly called “Papa Chang” by customers, wakes up at 6 a.m. on a typical day. He heads to the market, checks in on the other restaurants in the group, and starts prepping in the morning to get ready for service — all before noon. The Miami Design District recently caught up with Chang to learn more about B-Side’s journey and culinary goals.
What is B-Side's culinary philosophy? How do you work to fuse aspects of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine together?
Bright and vibrant colors and flavors: acid, salt and heat. Japanese techniques with Peruvian flavors. Serving primarily sushi rolls, we fuse many flavor inspirations from our upbringing in Peru. We want to use this platform to give people a taste of what we are known for in a light, fun and accessible way.
What is your most popular dish on the menu at the moment?
The Sansho has been a fan favorite and our most popular item since we opened in 2018. The combination of warm, crispy, crunchy, spicy and creamy, umami is just too much to pass up!
Some customers affectionately call you "Papa Chang." How would you describe your relationship with customers and the Design District community?
Very friendly. Ever since we first opened in the food hall upstairs in 2018, the people of the neighborhood have welcomed my family and me here with open arms. The excitement that our community here has shared with us since day one — how happy they are to have sushi of our quality, how happy they are to enjoy our cebiche — fills me with joy every day. I want everyone to feel welcome and to make them feel like they are at home. Please say hi when you come in!
What's the easiest and hardest ingredient to work with?
Good sushi rice is the easiest and the hardest because anyone and everyone can make rice but it takes care and intention to make really good sushi rice.
Your son and daughter, Nando and Valerie, have worked alongside you in many of your culinary endeavors. How would you describe your family dynamic and shared passion for the field?
When Nando and Val were kids, they would come with me to catering jobs and help prep. I believe this started their culinary passion. Also, it is family and teamwork. Everyone has their own concept and we help each other out where needed. I'm very proud of what they have accomplished, how they work as individuals and together as a family and collaborators.
What's the most important lesson you've learned in the restaurant industry?
The power of making people smile.
Miami foodies, sushi fanatics and casual diners alike will all find something to love at B-Side. Find the restaurant’s Design District location at 140 NE 39th St, open seven days a week from 12 to 8 p.m.