On Saturday, March 28, 2015, the AAA Four-Diamond rated Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Hollywood unveiled the highly anticipated Kuro, a sophisticated and wholly unique Japanese Craft Kitchen. Located inside the hotel and overlooking the property’s gorgeously remodeled pool, Kuro gives diners an interactive dining experience unlike anything else in the region. Sumptuously designed by David Mexico Design Group, Kuro features an open dining room, chef’s table (omakase bar), sushi bar with view into the hot kitchen (sauté, tempura, robata grill) and pastry section, in addition to two private dining rooms and an alfresco dining patio.
The farm-fresh Japanese menu offers new-style, handcrafted creations by Kuro’s Executive Chef Alex Becker, who also serves as the resort’s Creative Culinary Director. Chef Becker’s cuisine applies classic Japanese techniques to contemporary, artisanal creations using both locally sourced and fresh imported ingredients direct from Japan. Guests will discover a truly unique dining experience at Kuro. Servers act as culinary guides to create a personalized experience that teases the palate with flavors and textures, beginning with lighter fare and continuing on to spicier and richer dishes; each course or dish building on that which came before it.
The culinary team at Kuro boasts an impressive combined pedigree. Chef Becker worked for the Nobu empire for nearly a decade, opening up its restaurants in Hawaii, Los Angeles and New York City (Nobu 57) before joining SBE’s Katsuya as Corporate Executive Chef; in that role he opened multiple restaurants for the brand around the globe including Dubai, Kuwait, Los Angeles and South Beach. Executive Sushi Chef Shuji Hiyakawa was a protégé of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and, at Kuro he presides over the compelling sushi offerings, bringing his discerning palate and flair for presentation to the eclectic menu. Spearheading the concept is the property’s Vice President of Food & Beverage Justin Wyborn who has nearly 20 years of hospitality experience, including 14 years with the Nobu brand, opening eight locations worldwide and overseeing operations for locations on the West Coast.
The expansive menu encompasses an assortment of selections, allowing for a variety of combinations to satisfy the most astute gourmands. Chilled options include Hokkaido Scallop Sashimi with yuzu, pickled ginger and sea salt; Seared Salmon Sashimi with moromi miso, apple and Japanese 12-spice; and Tuna Tataki with kochujang sauce, creamy avocado and lime. Salad selections include Niwa Salad with local greens, baby vegetables and Kuro dressing; and Mushroom Katsuo with sautéed mushrooms, arugula and tosazu dressing. Tempura options include Corn Kakiage with furikake and ichimi spice; and Maitake Mushrooms with butter lettuce, chives and yuzu dressing. Using an authentic Japanese charcoal grill, Kuro’s Robata dishes include Chicken Momo with yuzu kosho paste and olive oil; Wagyu Tacos with spicy cilantro, soy shallots and aji Amarillo aioli; and Beef Negima – ribeye, scallions and yakitori glaze. The Land and Sea sections offer creative dishes using traditional ingredients. Standouts include Salmon Cartoccio with mixed mushrooms, spicy tomato salsa and kimizu sauce; Koji Lamb with cauliflower, kabocha croquette and blueberry demi; and Ribeye Miso with pine nut miso, grilled asparagus and shiso dressing. The menu at Kuro also features a full selection of sushi including maki, nigiri and sashimi.
For Desserts, Pastry Chef Ross Evans has created a beautifully balanced menu complementing Kuro’s savory selections while embracing the technical precision and clean flavors that Japanese cuisine is known for. Must-tries will indubitably include Chocolate Hazelnut Bar with spiced ganache, strawberry gel and sesame brittle; Apple Tobanyaki – soy caramel apples with mocha, roasted pecans and yamazaki ice cream; and Kuro Goma Panna Cotta with ginger gelée, cucumber pearl, pomegranate foam and nori sponge crumble.
At the helm of the innovative cocktail program is award-winning Mixologist Jared Boller. Handcrafted cocktails showcase fresh Japanese ingredients in modern recipes with hints of classic flavors, pairing harmoniously with Kuro’s cuisine. Drinks, divided by the five flavor profiles – sweet, savory, bitter, salty and umami – include Ni, a rum based cocktail with yuzu, watermelon, Thai basil, fennel, syrup and togarashi; San, a vodka based cocktail with absinthe, shiso and grapefruit; and Ichi, a scotch based cocktail with sea salt, cucumber, lime juice and dry vermouth, among others. Kuro also offers Japanese-imported and local craft beers, Japanese whiskeys, shōchū, 30 sake brands and 110 wine labels.
Designed by the prestigious David Mexico Design Group, Kuro features a theater-style, open concept design. The 240-seat restaurant encourages social interaction with its high-energy vibe and bustling ambiance. Guests enter Kuro from the resort lobby, gliding by a jaw-dropping wall comprised of 100,000 hand-placed sea shells. In fact, the elements of land and sea are reinforced throughout the space, from rows of driftwood on the walls and ceiling imitating waves and the textures and patterns of Florida beaches within the geometric floor tiling to the river rock and beach glass encapsulating the base of Kuro’s gorgeous central bar. Floor-to-ceiling bay windows line the perimeter of the 9,500-square-foot restaurant, bringing the outside in. The airy dining room offers a variety of seating options, from the cypress wood communal table and boardwalk oak tables to long banquettes and rounded booths overlooking the pool. The sushi bar offers an unbroken sightline into the kitchen; adjacent to the sushi bar are two private dining rooms, one featuring an elevated Chef’s Table with the other doubling as the glass-enclosed wine cellar. Kuro’s poolside terrace façade incorporates imaginative interactions where guests can dine at tables positioned atop a stunning glass floor with water flowing underneath. No detail was left to chance as the chandeliers in Kuro are constructed with nearly three miles of chain, crafted to resemble floating jellyfish.
Kuro is located at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at One Seminole Way in Hollywood, Florida. Dinner is served Tuesday – Thursday and Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Telephone: (954) 585-5333; www.seminolehardrockhollywood.com.