Note: Bluefin Parkland is now running an extremely aggressive “crowdsourced” gift card deal that frankly is one of the best fine dining bargains in the greater Broward and Palm Beach County area right now. For $100, you get a gift card worth $180. For $500, you get $1000, which you can split up into multiple gift cards if you like. If you’re a sushi fanatic like I am, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of this. The cards are good for up to one year at the Parkland location.
One of the first priorities for us after moving to South Florida was finding our “local” sushi place. Sushi is one of our favorite cuisines, and when you live in a warm climate it also is one of the most refreshing after a long and hot day.
But high-quality, authentic Japanese-style sushi can be extremely difficult to find in South Florida. Heck, it was difficult enough to find in suburban New Jersey where we used to live, and it’s still something of a challenge in New York City unless you go to the most expensive and well-known places.
We are lucky enough to live less than 10 minutes away from one of the best sushi restaurants in Broward County, if not all of South Florida, the Parkland location of Bluefin Sushi.
Quick Serve Restaurants, or QSR’s, are all the rage right now in casual dining. The trend of serving “faster, but higher quality” food items than what is served fast food establishments can largely be attributed to Chipotle, which is now a huge success story in the food and restaurant industry.
Since Chipotle made it big, others are trying to figure out what the next big QSR concept is. A lot of stuff since has been various re-spins on the burger concept. Asian cuisine, particularly sushi, is not something QSR as a whole has attempted to tackle yet, due to much higher sanitary standards as well as issues of keeping fish fresh.
How Do You Roll, a QSR chain that originated in Texas (and was profiled on the TV show “Shark Tank“) is attempting to recreate Chipotle’s “Roll your own” model and success but with sushi and other Asian items. There are currently two locations in Florida, one in Sunrise and the other in Gainesville.
Rachel and I had the opportunity to visit the Sunrise HDYR location on a torrentially rainy saturday night with a group of sushi fans from Meetup.com when business was slow, so we got a chance to observe the franchise under optimal conditions for photography but not necessarily to see how service would perform under busy conditions.
As I mentioned, HDYR is a “Roll your own”, QSR restaurant where you pick from a list of ingredients and the sushi chefs put together your custom sushi roll, rice bowl or ramen soup.
HDYR is most definitely a “beginners” sushi place because there are only 3 raw fish types you can choose from, Tuna (Maguro), Salmon, Escolar (a bland white fish, sometimes referred to as “White Tuna”), and “Spicy” variants of the same. Additional proteins that can be rolled are cooked Beef, Chicken, Crawfish Tails, Surimi (“Krab Sticks”), Shrimp, Eel and Tofu.
There is also a nice variety of fruits, vegetables and a number of different sauces and toppings/condiments which allows for a good combination of things for the diner to create. Pre-designed roll combinations range from $3 to $7, so you’re looking at about half of what a mid-range sushi restaurant charges for similar items.
Like at a Chipotle, or a sub shop chain, you order at the counter and they give you a number and you sit down. When your number is called you either go up to get your order, or depending how busy the place is, they bring it to you. The place was so completely dead that evening due to the weather that we got first class table service.
Is How Do You Roll a fresh or a dead fish? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
The restaurant mecca of Englewood is home to a number of sushi dens, including the much-beloved and frequently-packed Wild Ginger. But for my money, if I’m not heading out to the super-authentic Japanese-run Sakura Bana in Ridgewood, or eating at some of my favorite sushi places in NYC, I like to dine at Daruma, which opened in late 2004.
Sushi Bar (2006)
Foyer dining area (2006)
Main Dining Room (2006)
Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.