As food bloggers, we’re willing to drive for good food. We’ve driven all the way up to West Palm Beach for dinners on occasion, but those meals were worth the trek. Thankfully, Etaru in Hallandale Beach is a lot closer to home. But even if it wasn’t, we’d still drive just about anywhere for a taste of their Japanese robatayaki cuisine.
We have two recommendations for you: 1) Make a reservation ASAP and 2) Make sure it’s a nice day. You’re going to want to sit outside here: The beautiful oceanfront view is mesmerizing — you’re so close that you can practically smell the sea. Once you’ve taken in the view, sit down and order the tasting menu. While you could order a la carte, the chef’s tasting is a phenomenal value and you get all the best dishes.
Regardless of what you end up doing, expect food to come as it’s ready. Our raw bites like Yellowtail Sashimi and Tuna Tataki Salad came out first and set the bar high immediately. These sizable cuts of fish were uber-fresh and tasty, with the latter dish packing a bit of heat that perked up our palate. Speaking of size, the Sashimi Platter gets an A+ for presentation — the giant ice bowl with all sorts of color makes for an awesome photo.
The next two dishes were among our favorites: Crispy Prawn and Beef Skewers. The former is worth the tasting menu price alone — we could not get enough of the crispy, juicy crustaceans. If our tasting menu was just crispy prawns over and over again, we would have been happy. Dip the prawn in the accompanying sauce for a vinegary hit that just makes your mouth explode with flavor. The tender beef skewers had a similar effect on us.
Our Soft Shell Crab Maki really drove home just how fresh everything at Etaru is. We mentioned it earlier, but you can really taste the difference when you take a bite of any of the seafood or meat here — it just pops. As for the Black Cod and Ribeye — the last savory dishes of our tasting — it was close but the fish with its yuzu miso won over our stomachs; it’s a soft, flaky and thick cut that’s extremely satisfying. If you need a break from all the seafood, though, the ribeye is the way to go.
At this point in the meal, you’re likely full. Fortunately, the dessert platter is a bit on the lighter side: ripe fruit galore along with a few decadent treats like coconut and passion fruit parfait and yuzu ice cream. And just like the sashimi platter, the presentation is top notch.
In fact, that’s an appropriate adjective for our entire meal: top notch. From the food and the drinks to the view and service, you can tell that Etaru is cut from the same cloth as Zuma. Everything is quality here, and because of that, our recommendations still stand: Make a reservation ASAP and make sure you go on a nice day.
ETARU is located at 111 S Surf Rd on Hallandale Beach. For hours of operation and other information, visit their official website or call 954-271-3222.