Entering Miyoshi is like entering another world. Floating in a busy sea of strip malls and traffic in Florence, the restaurant is a kind of oasis. No flat-screens glare at you—just a small, gently raked Zen garden and an air of peacefulness and quiet. Also greeting you at the table will be a largely unfamiliar menu, even if you have had Japanese food before. Yes, you will still find sushi, sashimi, and ramen, and they will all be excellent, but what sets Miyoshi apart are the dishes that are simply unavailable elsewhere, all of which are a gateway into a world of subtle and revelatory flavors.
From a simple bowl of cha (green tea) soba noodles to yakizakana, grilled mackerel served with a lemon wedge, grated daikon, and seaweed dressed with toasted sesame oil, the key ingredient at Miyoshi is restraint: very few elements, each in perfect balance, as a kind of delicate platform for the natural flavor of each kind of fish or vegetable. When you look beyond the apparent complexity of food, a different kind of appreciation becomes possible, and you start tasting things you wouldn’t have noticed before, from a buttery enoki mushroom to the clarity of a single piece of pickled ginger. As the cloudy pink of a salted plum enters the steaming bowl of ume ochazuke (tea soup), mixing with rice and matchsticks of seaweed, you understand that food can be for more than just your stomach. A meal at Miyoshi is nourishment for spirit as well as body and leaves you not stuffed, but somehow buoyant and lighter than when you sat down.