When someone suggests visiting the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for any reason, my usual answer is “No, thanks.” I don’t gamble, but I’ve dined at most of the restaurants there, been to the Improv, attended concerts, and even stayed at the hotel for a weekend staycation. No, no, no, and no. I’ve tried and it’s just not my thing. How is it then, I’ve now willingly visited three times in the last couple of months? Kuro, that’s why.
As the elevator doors open into the hotel, that all too familiar smell always gets me. Cigarettes: one of the main reasons I dislike visiting this venue. During my first visit, I did my best to ignore it as I briskly walked towards the restaurant. I couldn’t get there fast enough. I checked in with the hostess who immediately sat us in a booth, right by the wide open entrance. Of course she did. Now I would feel as if I was still in the hotel lobby. I started to say something about it, but then I looked towards the bar area located directly in front of us. A huge (and apparently hypnotizing) chandelier caught my eye. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad (especially after some wine), I thought, and let it go. It wasn’t just the chandelier. The design team truly went all out when working on this space. Kuro has managed to take a monochromatic palette to exciting levels. Browns, tans, and off-whites all impressively coexist with dramatic textures and metal accents everywhere. The more I looked around me, the more my former interior-designer self geeked out.
I wasn’t there for looks, though. Service began immediately after we sat. My husband and I ordered a couple of appetizers and those came out surprisingly fast. One bite and I was hooked. Just like that. What cigarette smell? I’m guessing I got used to it after a while there? How does that even happen? All I know is this; I couldn’t believe just how good the majority of these dishes were. Not only good, but up to par with Zuma and Nobu (a couple of my other favorites).
That first captivating bite? The Toro Tartar: so smooth with creamy avocado and spicy miso. Dinner had only just begun, but I already wanted more. Next came the Seared Hamachi and the Wagyu nigiri. All I did during the days following this dinner was think about these in the same way one rehashes an incredible first date. Ha! Three visits later and I’ve confirmed the nigiri at Kuro as my favorite, even over the entrees. However, given the smaller than usual portions of most items, this preference always costs me when I have to double up on orders. This girl can eat. Don’t be fooled by my photos, they were shot extremely close. I haven’t yet tried most of their rolls, but I really enjoyed the House Special Maki. Clearly, one of the more mainstream dishes on the menu: salmon, white fish, and tuna wrapped in cucumber. Still, it’s pretty damn good.
The Wagyu Tacos, also addicting, pack a lot of flavor in while the Sea Bass Nori skewers continue to move up the ranks as one of my preferred apps. Perhaps the most underwhelming course from all I’ve tried has been the Green Goddess Salad: not enough dressing and noodles overkill. Pass. One strike out of a dozen home-runs isn’t bad, right?
Savory and just sweet enough, the star entree at Kuro is the Chilean Seabass Miso. I can only compare it to the one I already love at Makoto. Other entrees worth a mention are the Ribeye Miso with its shiso dressing (I wanted to put that on everything) and the Koji Lamb with its accompanying, glorious kabocha croquette.
Not to be missed, the Chocolate Hazelnut Bar offers a little bit of crunch off the sesame brittle and a whole lot of chocolate-spiced ganache. A must. What cigarette smell? Are we still on that topic? Certainly not me. The Japanese Doughnuts are served with three sauces: peanut butter, matcha anglaise, and chocolate ganache…but I only have love for the peanut butter one. The doughnuts are hot, soft, and yet still doughy enough to dip into the sauces. A dream. Lastly, I love how Kuro’s American coffee (by Lavazza) always arrives still sporting a bit of natural crema on top. Simple, yet rarely seen on most other restaurant coffee pours. And yes, I drink my coffee black.
Service is never overly personal, but it works. The wait staff usually takes our order and disappears the rest of the time. The Kuro army of staff timely switches out our plates, silverware (with each course) and refills our glasses. Should you want to bring your wine in, there’s a $30.00 corkage fee. If not, indulge on any of their terrific cocktails. The sweet Ni and sour Jyu (each representing a Japanese number and “phonetically fun to say” as per Kuro) are great options. If sake is your thing, then order the Wakatake Onikoroshi “Demon Slayer”- Shizuoka. I’ve been known to order my very own bottle. Be warned, though, it can sneak up on you!
Looking back at my first visit, I remember how we felt as we sat there at the end of dinner. Content and in silence, we both thought the very same thing; Kuro rocked and we could not wait to return. Given my ongoing-but-now-mostly-extinct Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino aversion, it’s safe to say I will drive to this restaurant no matter where they are located.
A highly experienced culinary group leads Kuro to their current Broward County takeover. Executive Chef Alex Becker has worked at Katsuya and Nobu. Chef Shuji Hiyakawa was Chef Masaharu Morimoto‘s protégé. What a team! It’s no wonder they easily placed on my recent top ten list. Congratulations Kuro, you are killin’ it!
HIT: Chilean Seabass Miso
MISS: The cigarette smell might or might not bother you….but it’s there. While the resort might not rush to further improve its air filtering system, the restaurant can certainly find ways to contain the air quality inside. Perhaps start by adding entrance doors?
TIP: Park in the back parking garage (the one with the TV screen on it). To find it, drive through the main resort entrance. Valet parking will be on the right, the garage will be on the left. Take the elevator to the 2nd floor, down the escalators, and make a left. Walk past the slot machines to find Kuro all the way towards the back. Enjoy!