It's tough for any business to make dramatic shifts midstream. But that's just what happened at Cafe Sharaku, a French-Japanese fusion restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. When it first debuted in 2007, New Times panned chef/owner Iowa Kaita's dishes as complicated and overindulgent. But since then, Kaita's simplified the menu, offering healthier options at far less expensive prix-fixe prices. I've had readers writing in telling me to revisit Sharaku for a while now, and this week, I took their advice. Here's an excerpt from the column:
I have to give Iowa Kaita credit. When customers weren't showing up at Café Sharaku in Fort Lauderdale to try his dishes -- strange concoctions like fluke and scallop soufflé or sea eel risotto -- the chef/owner took a step back. He didn't give up on his idea of fusing French technique with Japanese cooking, a path he embarked on after years of training at both Nobu and Café Boulud. Instead, Kaita regrouped. He ditched his ultraexpensive $70 menu de degustation, with its foie gras and foams, and focused instead on devising healthier dishes that showcased the ingredients of his homeland -- pan-seared scallops with sea urchin sauce; grilled black pork belly with apple ponzu. And wouldn't you know it; the redirection worked.Check our full review of Cafe Sharaku here.