Fresh Harvest Sushi Bar
The Nectar lounge @ The Seminole Casino, Coconut Creek
Address: 5550 NW 40th St, east of State Road 7 (U.S. 441)
and north of Sample Road on 40th Street.
Coconut Creek www.seminolecoconutcreekcasino.com
Phone: 954 977 6700.
Hours: Thursday – Saturday 8pm – 1:30 am
Kindai is served Thursdays and Fridays, 8 p.m. until 2 a.m.
while supplies last.
Liquor: Full bar
Prices: Sushi $4.75-$18; Kindai menu $42-$55
Ambiance: Casino casual
Credit cards: All
The Unique Kindai Experience
at Fresh Harvest Sushi Bar in the Nectar lounge
The Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
Silky and rich, the most expensive tuna in the world is served two days a week, while supplies last
by Simone Zarmati Diament
Whatever Seminole Casino General Manager Steve Bonner does, it is with style and panache. “Our business is not only the Casino, but it is to give people what they can’t get anywhere else,” said Mr. Bonner who is know for the prizes he lavishes on the Casino’s clients, like an oil-well, a space trip or a million dollars. A few months ago, he hired Dinner in the Sky, literally a high-flying act with dinner to launch the new Chef’s Table at the Casino’s Fresh Harvest Restaurant.
To outdo himself, Bonner agreed to let French-born Executive Chef François Ternes - who honed his skills at the Royal Monceau, Fouquet and Chez Maxim's in Paris, before working at Ciro's in New York and Disney World in Orlando – serve Kindai Tuna, the most expensive tuna in the world, sashimi and sushi style, at The Seminole Casino Coconut Creek s Fresh Harvest Sushi Bar in the Nectar lounge. “We’re the first to serve it in Florida,” proudly claims Chef Ternes.
Kindai bluefin tuna is the first tuna ever raised in captivity, from the egg, in a Japanese university fisheries’ laboratory. Supplies are so scarce that there’s only one weekly air shipment of Kindai tuna, about three 130- to 200-pound fish, which makes it to the United States. “As soon as it lands on the West Coast we have our allotted portion immediately flown to Miami; we butcher it; cut it in small slabs and fast freeze it at -85F in a special freezer we purchased for that purpose,” says chef Ternes. . “We can only offer it on Fresh Harvest Sushi Bar menu at The Nectar Lounge on Thursdays and Fridays, from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m., while supplies last,” he explains.
Less than ten restaurants in the US get to serve Kindai, which is to fish what KoBe is to beef. “Until now, you had to go to California to The French Laundry in Yountville or to the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco to taste the silky, rich taste of Kindai,” says Chef Ternes as he and chefs Jarrod Campbell and the Singaporan Michael Quek busily prepare the precious raw fish he will serve with another first in Florida, Green River Sake, a delicate beverage akin to white wine, described as a kind of "Junmai Ginjo" with 12.5 % alcohol made from Koide rice in Niigata, Japan, by the Midorikawa Sake Co. Chefs Ternes and Quek have it poured into wooden drinking vessels and advise you to drink it through a smoked salt rock from Wales to enhance the flavor.
The Kindai experience
In the midst of the surrounding din and light of the gambling hall, the Fresh Harvest Sushi Bar is an oasis of calm separated from the bleeping slot machines and occasional shouts of victory of winners by a sushi bar and the Zen-like precision of chef Michael Quek.
Once seated at one of the tall stools, the Kindai experience begins; the silky, rich fish is very much like foie gras in texture and quite filling, in spite of the small quantities served. Imagine all the Omega-3 oils you will consume!
We started with a rich-tasting umami-seasoned Kindai with delicious gel-like hoisin nitro noodles, scallions & sesame seeds ($48).
Umami, a basic taste sensed by specialized receptor cells on the human tongue, was first identified as a separate taste in 1908 by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University while researching the strong flavor in seaweed broth. One its main components, natural Glutamate, is naturally contained in Asian foods such as soy sauce and fish sauce, and in Italian food in parmesan cheese and anchovies.
Next came a tuna sashimi trio of Kindai tuna with ginger and chives; Ohtoro – tuna belly - with passion fruit and wasabi and the white tuna Escolar topped with aged black garlic – a deeply rich tasting fermented garlic which was new to me - and fish eggs ($55). Three different tastes and textures with a rainbow range of tastes and textures enhanced by the accompanying sauces and ingredients.
A more modern take on Kindai is the tartare of Kindai, a tower of fresh fish with avocado and shiitake mushrooms over a citric nage of yuzu soy emulsion, sprinkled with halen mon sea salt and topped with micro wasabi greens and a fried quail egg. ($42) It is the quintessential tuna tartare after which all other will pale for ever.
In case you’re still hungry, which I seriously doubt since Kindai is as filling as foie gras, or in case your budget hasn’t allowed a taste of “the most expensive tuna in the world,” there’s sushi and sashimi, freshly made with the best ingredients, from 8-pieces California rolls ($4.75) and tempura rolls ($8.50) to spicy tuna, sashimi sampler and shrimp, crab and lobster samplers ($7.50 - $17.50).
And then the music started with a live band and a Tina Turner-alike singer covering the busy slot machines and the excitement of the casino which I had forgotten in the rapture of Kindai.
The only place in Florida, and on most of the East Coast expect for a couple of restaurants in New York City, where Kindai is served is at the Fresh Harvest Sushi Bar at The Nectar Lounge on Thursdays and Fridays, from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. while supplies last.
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is located at 5550 NW 40th Street, in Coconut Creek, Florida, just east of State Road 7 (U.S. 441) and north of Sample Road on 40th Street. For more information call 954-977-6700; fax 954-970-7721 or visit www.seminolecoconutcreekcasino.com.