Food News

Zuma Cofounder Rainer Becker Opening Restaurants in Hallandale and Fort Lauderdale

Expect to find creative sushi and sashimi like this Roka London dish when Etaru opens in Hallandale Beach later this year.
Expect to find creative sushi and sashimi like this Roka London dish when Etaru opens in Hallandale Beach later this year. Courtesy of Roka London
Etaru, a restaurant specializing in Japanese robatayaki, will open its first location in South Florida later this year at the former Hyde Beach Kitchen + Cocktails space in Hallandale Beach. The restaurant and beach club closed a few months ago.

A second location is already planned farther north, slated to open in early 2018 at the Related Group's luxury rental Icon Las Olas, located at 500 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.

Rainer Becker, cofounder and creator of Zuma and Roka, is the driving force behind Etaru. The name is a play on the word eteru, Japanese for "ether," the word used in medieval science to explain the material that makes up the universe beyond the terrestrial sphere.

Zuma, a sophisticated Japanese restaurant, was started by Becker and Arjun Waney in 2002 in London. The brand has since launched 11 locations around the world, including Hong Kong, Dubai, Istanbul, Miami, Bangkok, New York, Rome, and Las Vegas.

Following the success of Zuma London, Becker continued the theme of robatayaki cuisine with London's Roka Charlotte Street in 2004. He worked with the group's executive chef, Hamish Brown, to create a contemporary Japanese menu.

Brown says Etaru's menu will revolve around the robata grill, a concept based on the fishermen of Japan’s northern coast who charcoal-grill fish on their boats and share their bounty with one another via outstretched oars.

The menu offers a wide range of sushi, sashimi, raw dishes, salads, tataki, and tempura, as well as traditional Japanese dishes. Fans of the Roka brand will be happy to know the eatery will serve several of the restaurant's most popular dishes.

"The Etaru menu is based off the menus found at Roka London and adapted to include local produce and ingredients," Brown says. "As a result, the menu will feature several of Roka London's most popular signature dishes, including yellowtail sashimi with a yuzu truffle dressing and Korean-spiced lamb cutlets served with sesame cucumber. But there will also be some new dishes, like a brown rice and quinoa salad with a ginger soy dressing and grilled tiger prawns with arima sansho and garlic."

Those familiar with the Hyde Beach Club's stunning multifunctional space remember the location is just steps from the beach. The restaurant will evolve throughout the day and night with a ground-level beach club, restaurant, and bar featuring floor-to-ceiling glass doors and 255 seats divided between indoor and alfresco dining.

During the day, the ground-level beach bar will offer casual dining with Japanese influences. At night, the restaurant and bar will concentrate on the centrally located robata grill so guests can watch the preparation of each dish.

"The Hallandale Beach location has been the main inspiration for this concept, and we truly believe that the Etaru version of robatayaki cuisine, along with the other contemporary Japanese dishes, and the beachside setting is a match made in heaven," Brown says. "The relaxed, casual atmosphere and shared-dining concept really is perfect."

Etaru. 111 South Surf Rd., Hallandale Beach.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna