Taste Of The Town: Etaru Brings The Flame To Japanese Cuisine

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HALLANDALE BEACH (CBSMiami) — Cooking up in the kitchen at the all new ‘Etaru’ on Hallandale Beach, New Zealand-born chef Hamish Brown has been at the helm of it’s well-established sister restaurant in London called ‘Roka.’

Etaru is all about modern Japanese “robatayaki” cuisine and their state of the art, multi-level robata grill.

“We want to cook with heat as much as fire,” said chef Hamish. “The idea of this grill is we have different layers and can control the heat and how we actually cook.”

The oceanfront space, with warm woods and soft tones, features dining inside and out.

“What are you going to do to bring in the locals to this space, which is so beautiful,” asked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

“I think the one thing we found when doing our research in this area was there was a lack of good Japanese food,” the chef replied. “We believe we are really approachable Japanese cuisine.”

The robata grill makes it the every day dining experience.

“It’s something fresh for the area,” said chef Hamish. “We’re really excited about it.”

Chef Hamish knows his customers are savvy when it comes to the food, thanks to the internet generation.

“The general public’s knowledge of cooking techniques and how to cook has changed dramatically over the last 10 years, especially here and in the U.K. People know more than the cooks in my kitchen, I tell you,” he said.

The sashimi platter for two uses a virtual sculpture of different fish from, salmon to fatty tuna, scallops and more.

“This is in respect to Japanese presentation. The cutting of the fish is really important for flavors and textures. We are just trying to make it special for our customers,” Hamish explained.

Lisa’s favorite is the Tuna Tartar with quail egg and caviar.

“It’s super rich and there is a little bit of acidity and saltiness from caviar,” the chef described.

“The combination is so fresh and cold,” said Petrillo. “There’s a salty crunch. It’s a winner.”

There’s the delicate grilled prawn skewers, cooked in soy sauce, honey and garlic, and a yellowtail sashimi with truffle ponzu sauce that’s simply out of this world.

“This could be my favorite yellowtail I’ve ever had,” Petrillo exclaimed.

“So what do you want the vibe to be here on a Friday night or Saturday night,” asked Petrillo.

“We want it to be a lounge room for people to come in and feel comfortable. We’re a neighborhood restaurant and a place you can pop into any time. We’re hoping this will be the place people come to meet,” said chef Hamish.

Up next, a beautiful robata-grilled filet served is served with trumpet mushrooms inside a magnolia leaf.

“It just feels like such a special dish,” said Petrillo.

“Yeah, for us, it’s a great reflection of modern Japanese food,” said Hamish.

The meal ends on a dessert platter so lavish it’s hard to describe: A Japanese popsicle, fruit, Guava Moshi and a chocolate pudding with a gooey liquid, green tea filling.

Etaru is opened 7 nights a week , with brunch on Sundays. For more info, head to: www.etarurestaurant.us

More from Lisa Petrillo
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