Etaru Excels with an Eclectic Eating Experience

By Caitlin Marino

Hidden behind the Hyde and Hallandale Beach Water Tower, ETARU (111 South Surf Rd, Hallandale Beach) is vibrantly coming up to make its name known amongst its upscale neighborhood and within Miami’s Japanese culinary scene through a noticeable dash of contemporary glitz and killer oceanfront views.

Menu highlights: Although sushi was a must, I also ventured into some unexpectedly great surprises when sampling the array of options available on the eclectic menu.

I pretty much will always order a Softshell Crab Roll when having sushi, but was delighted to try it with a touch of chili mayo, which added a nice flavorful kick to each bite. Also, one can never go wrong with ordering a Spicy Yellowfin Tuna Roll – oldie but goodie! ETARU tops this roll with tempura flakes for the perfect level of spice without taking anything away from the freshness of the tuna.

I’m never usually a fan of cooked fish – strictly sushi and ceviche for this foodie – but this Teriyaki Salmon was superb. Precisely cooked to melt in your mouth and complemented with a hint of lemon and salt to round out the delectable experience.

My job has taken me to Mexico quite a bit this year and I must say that the Sweet Corn with wasabi lime butter and shichimi reminded me a lot of an elote, but even better. Any way you can find to sneak lime into a dish gets a point from me.

Save room for dessert. I repeat, save room for dessert! You won’t want to miss the beautifully presented Dessert Platter featuring a selection of seasonal and exotic fruits and indulgent sides like mango and strawberry sorbet.

Standout dish: I’m a sucker for anything with yuzu so needless to say, the Black Kampachi Sashimi (paired with yuzu truffle dressing, mizuna and pickled vegetables) hit the ball out of the park for me. So good you might have to order two… or was that just me?

Are we boozing? With the variety of specialty cocktails featured on the menu, you have to at least try one! I suggest indulging with the Beyond The Sea (vodka, lychee & kombu cordial champagne) for a light, refreshing cocktail, the Bonsai Storm (dark rum, pineapple, pickled ginger, lime ginger beer, and angostura bitters) for a unique twist on a Jamaican Mule, or the Rita Okinawa (yuzu tequila, yellow chartreuse, lime & agave) for all the tequila fans like myself.

Check this place out if you like: the Zuma concept, but with an even more beautiful waterfront experience. The view is absolutely amazing and the food is right on par with the scenic backdrop.

Caitlin’s take: Although I wasn’t fortunate enough to be able to soak in the glory of the view during the day and, in fact, had to bare through tropical storm rain and winds, there’s no hit-or-miss when it comes to the menu. Additionally, service is impeccable with very attentive waitstaff and management. I’m looking forward to returning on a day not ruined by the ever-extreme Miami weather and, more importantly, to be able to try their buzz-worthy brunch!

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