English translation for Tsukuro is “Where the moon arrives over the water.” Tsukuro is all the rave on Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., where flip flop meets high end décor. The restaurant serves Asian inspired dishes in a very sexy chill décor that took a page from it’s not so far sibling city of South Miami Beach.
On a recent impromptu trip down south I ventured onto South Beach for some light lunch only to be confronted by lanes of construction after construction. What are they doing down there, rebuilding the whole South Beach? Frustrated and hungry, I elected to pull onto Fort Lauderdale Beach. You can’t really go down South and not dine on the Beach. Knowing very well that there are or dare I say were slim pickings on Fort Lauderdale Beach, I made the trip with high hopes.
To my utter surprise, there are some major changes to Fort Lauderdale Beach. Back in the days when I worked at one of the beach hotels, there were just a handful of restaurants. Most of them catered to the sun soaked, bikini clad, booze drenched crowd. Now there are famed hotels and finer restaurants that grace the beach.
As I cruised up the beach, Tsukuro caught my eye. At a fleeting glance this could be mistaken for a night club. Led lights with extremely high ceiling, black on grey, with pops of orange and striking strands is a feast in itself. There is a raw bar, sushi bar and the menu features Global cuisine with heavy Asian influence. Items are served as small plates meant for sharing.
This trio showed up the minute we sat down. Light Kimchi cabbage, Wasabi flavored edamame and pickled vegetable. A very nice palate opener.
Riceless – Daikon wrapped tuna, salmon and avocado. Very good combination, textures and flavors marry well together. Very clever use of picks, not only does it make a very cool presentation, but it serves a practical purpose of holding the roll together. Have you ever tried picking up a cucumber wrapped roll with chop sticks? Then, you know exactly what I mean.
Chef’s Choice Bento Box – This changes seasonal. Korean BBQ Ribs, Grilled Shrimp, Veggies, Chicken Taquitos and Fried rice. This is a welcomed distance from the traditional bento box presentation. Flavors and textures were all there. However, the plating could use a wipe down before making tableside. What is the point of good food and presentation, when the vessels are soiled with sauces and drippings?
Oyster Po Boy – Lightly battered so as not to overpower the oyster. Oyster was ever so lightly cooked. Very nicely done.
The menu in this restaurant seems to cater for a wide range of palates. Although there is a full sushi bar, the offerings are limited. However, the raw bar, small plates and big plates more than make up for ample selections.
I am and will always be baffled by establishments that force consumers to add 15% gratuity to their bills. So if your service was less than stellar I still have to tip you 15%? I am fully aware that servers make minimum wage and they live on tips. Normally, I am a 20% tipper for good service, more for above and beyond and at least 18% for crappy service. I know you are saying that is just me. I just happen to know what servers walk out with at the end of the night after tipping out everyone on the team.
The whole idea of a tip is for services rendered. So if the tip is built in, why would the server work? Oh yea, I get that South Florida being a global destination, people from overseas don’t really tip as much. That is a myth, because everyone who visits from outside of the US fully understands the US tip system. Take off this mandatory 15% tip and let service staff actually deliver service. Chances are they may actually make more money.
Since this place has sidewalk seating, they allow dogs. Not so much for most of Fort Lauderdale Beachside sidewalk or Beach Place public areas. What kind of rule is that? So I can bring my pooch, walk on the western side of Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, not cross over to the beach side, not go into Beach Place, but I can sit at restaurants with sidewalk seating. Wait, I can park at Beach Place parking garage with my dog in the car but not walk through Beach Place itself, I must walk on the side street. Who comes up with these ridiculous rules? Needless to say, I will think and rethink before going out here again.
Tsukuro has definitely filled a void in the social beach scene. There are stuffier places with more classic menu and décor. Then there are the classic beer guzzling and watered down frozen drinks holes.Now Tsukuro can cater for the hip gorgeous people who want a more elegant and sophisticated surrounding but still be casually cool.