Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cafe Sharaku (Ft. Lauderdale)

Cafe Sharaku has been on the top of my "list" of restaurants to try since they opened back in 2007.  A myriad of reasons including distance kept me away but I was recently motivated to get there following the recommendation of Chef Kevin Cory of Naoe.

Cafe Sharaku is owned and run by Chef Kaita who trained under Chef Boulud and was a sushi chef at Nobu. Thus, he's created a menu of French-Asian fusion fare. He offers a daily four course prix fixe menu for $28.00.  It's actually more than $28.00 because most entrees cost an additional supplement.  Nevertheless, it is still a very good deal and the obvious way to go.  The night we were there (and I suspect every night) they had several appetizer specials that were featured on a black board a la Gourmet Diner.   

Cafe Sharaku is a small, quiet, 18 seat restaurant located in US1 just south of Oakland Park Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale.  There is also a sushi bar with a few seats but there is really no reason to sit there since the chef is behind the scenes in the kitchen and the space is essentially used as a service area.  The restaurant itself reminded me of a semi-modern Chinese restaurant but with white tablecloths and flowers.  Nothing off putting about it but it could use some tweaking. 

We were there on a Saturday night and there were four other occupied tables.  There was one waiter, one server and the chef.  The service was professional and the meal was properly paced. 

The meal began with a choice of soup or salad.  I wasn't in the mood for soup so I reluctantly passed on a lobster miso soup and went with a fresh tuna green salad.  As advertised, the tuna was fresh.  On the boring side but the tuna and salad dressing were good and thus not a bad way to start.

For my second course I opted for the grilled black pork belly with apple ponzu sauce over other interesting options such as tuna tartar served with a sunny side up quail egg and creamy garlic sauce, quail teriyaki, seared fatty tuna with yuzu miso, deep fried salmon belly and a baked stone crab in a garlic wasabi sauce.  I got to taste that dish and it was good.   The pork belly contained two thinly sliced pieces topped with an apple ponzu sauce.  The texture of the pork belly and the contrasting sweet and salty flavors of the sauce were spot on and complimented each other well.

For my main course I went with two of my favorites, pan seared scallops with sea urchin sauce. It also came with sauteed asparagus, spinach and shiitake mushrooms.  The dish featured three fresh scallops that were perfectly cooked.  The sea urchin sauce was flavorful without overpowering the scallop.  This was a great dish.  

We ended the meal with a crepe filled with an uneven mix of blueberries and cream which resulted in a  mediocre dessert.  A strawberry mill-feuille with homemade vanilla ice cream fared a little better. 

The meal was very  enjoyable. That being said, I'm not sure I agree with the 27 it received this year in Zagat. A solid 25 overall is probably more accurate with some dishes deserving a 26 and maybe 27.   Nevertheless, the menus creative and unique combinations of ingredients will get me back again.


Cafe Sharaku on Urbanspoon


 2736 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306
( 954 ) 563-2888


SteveBM said...

Nice post. Scallop w/ uni combines two of my favorites as well. Sounds like a great dish.

The Chowfather said...

Thx- that dish was very good and several others sounded just as good. Unfortunately it's just too far to get back regularly for me. But I'll be back

Anonymous said...

Had the duck and it was outstanding. also the seabass was quite good