The Sushi Ko invitation further helped Mayanoki expand its underlying mission with a new chef that Daly also helped bring in: Jeff Miller, whom he’d previously met filming a segment for Munchies and wanted for his own restaurant. Miller was responsible for purchasing fish at Uchi in Texas, and already had a sustainable focus, so he was the right fit.
Miller never planned to be a sushi chef. “I’d be running a sustainable copy shop pop-up now, if everything had gone right,” the tall chef in a SF Giants cap joked to an enthralled sushi counter audience. While studying journalism at the University of Florida, Miller walked into local sushi restaurant Dragonfly, and was immediately mistaken for one of the owner’s friends. Without a formal interview, he was hired to work the sushi counter on the spot and immediately quit his other college job working at a local copy shop. After graduating with a degree in journalism, the California native decided to pursue sushi full-time.
Miller packed up to move to New York to spearhead Mayanoki just weeks before the summer pop-up re-opened. Shiny, silver-skinned fish are in season in August, and Miller has added them to his menu, along with local fluke, Massachusetts scallops, and other East Coast seafood. To break up the 12- to 15-course tasting (it’s easy to lose count), he also serves sushi, like a double-egg roll featuring both salmon roe and and a chewy tamago omelet, as well as a seared-to-order trumpet mushroom sprinkled with just enough sea salt to almost pass as a chewy, umami-packed slice of fish.