From the moment you enter through the front door, you are surrounded by walls decorated with phrases that give you a sneak peek into the exciting and intriguing culinary experience awaiting you. “Peruvian sauce with an Asian kick,” “Certified Awesome,” and “So good you might just drink them up,” are only a few of the many vibrant and quirky statements that act as the restaurant’s wallpaper — a telling collection of text that sets the tone for some of the most delicious and festively-constructed fusion dishes South Beach has to offer.
SuViche, located on 16th Street between Alton Road and Lenox Avenue, takes the best of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines and marries them in a way no other establishment has thought to do. Sushi and ceviche, hence the restaurant’s name, along with an array of other classic Japanese and Peruvian dishes are just a few of the offerings given new life through a seamless combination of Asian and Latin American flavors. And heading the marketing and branding of this establishment is Sebastian Stahl.
Born in Guatemala City, Sebastian received his masters in Hospitality and Business and has since spent most of his life in the food industry. His passion for the business drove him to open eateries in Guatemala City and eventually here in Miami where he has found himself working alongside some of the most skilled and creative juggernauts in the culinary world.
When Sebastian entered South Beach’s SuViche location for our interview, I was immediately impressed at his reception from the employees in and outside of the kitchen. There was a genuine friendliness and comfort in each of his greetings that he ultimately brought to our table in the far corner of the festive dining hall. And it was not long until I began to understand why.
Both Sebastian’s grandmother and mother, much like my own mother, were social workers. They spent their lives helping others and even founded an institute for the blind, deaf and mute — acts that Sebastian paid close attention to while growing up. And watching his brothers and sister overcome obstacles of their own only added to the foundation that would give Sebastian the support he has needed to keep himself moving forward.
Sebastian’s most valuable professional influence and lessons have been letting life guide him and accepting failure when it occurs. He figured out over time what worked in his industry and what did not through trial an error, exhibiting courage in exploring the unknown and confidence in believing that what he is doing at any given time is exactly what is meant to be.
Higher education, both professional and life experiences and a strong sense of self along with a vast knowledge of operations, property management and staffing have left Sebastian with a very unique gift. Since joining the SuViche team, he has been able to take owner Aliosha Stern’s vision of a high-quality, fast casual dining experience that showcases delicious and innovative cuisine all at an affordable price and market it in a way that speaks to everyone by following a very unique ideology.
“Successful marketing,” Sebastian explains, “is not always about creating a beautiful ad or an out-of-the-box thing, but creating consistent actions organized through time.”
From the fun video ads on SuViche’s Facebook Page showing customers secretly sucking up the remains of their dishes with a straw (something I’ve wanted to do at the end of every one of my visits) to the comfortable and unpretentious decor found at all of the SuViche locations, these are elements that Sebastian has spent the last few years cultivating. They are simple yet connect to all of us who love good food, want a place where we can go to as we are, order what we want and eat it in whatever manner we choose.
In addition to this all, the experience of acceptance and hospitality from the employees themselves can also be felt at every SuViche location and is perhaps one of the biggest selling points. And while we as the customer get to enjoy this feeling on a consumer level, the employees that create this experience also feel it in their own way. Internal growth is the name of the game at SuViche, giving every employee from the ground up an opportunity to expand their horizons. In addition to the staff, there are no areas of a location that even the most senior figures are unfamiliar with, as every manager up to owner Aliosha himself makes sure he or she knows how to perform every facet of the operation.
The warm reception Sebastian receives from the SuViche team in SOBE whenever he enters is a testament to his hands-on approach of leadership. There is no job to large or small for him to tackle (including both taking and running my sushi order from the kitchen at the end of our time together), which brings me to the food once more.
SuViche offers a wide variety of dishes that are completely customizable, and it prides itself in offering substitutions for all of its rolls, which is a level of accommodation I have only found here. Healthy dishes are made with fresh ingredients and packed with flavor, all offered at an affordable price.
From the effective wall decor to a menu that offers an array of interesting and mind-blowing sauces with every dish, SuViche has mastered the art of blurring boundaries in a way that will keep you coming back for more. And while he will talk down his influence, Sebastian Stahl has breathed a life into this restaurant’s brand that only he could, propelling SuViche to heights I am sure were the dreams of everyone involved in creating what has become a force to be reckoned with in the culinary world.