Heart Rock Sushi —Flavors Close to the Heart and Palette!
We feasted on great food, knowing that it is a restaurant that is both good for your heart and good to your heart. Situated on Federal Highway just north of Sample Road on the east side, the main entrance is to the rear of the building. Greeted by smiling, happy waiters, the décor is stylishly modern with contemporary flourishes.
The owners, Ann and Rick Yamusenro, run their two restaurants with their sons, Moose and Mark. Moose was knowledgeable and professional, exuding his charm and enthusiasm as he attended to the needs of the restaurant, making customers feel comfortable and well taken care of. He intends to let the décor of the restaurant evolve over the coming months into a relaxing place, including comfortable lounges — a place that everyone can “come, eat and enjoy… a part of the community.”
As longtime residents of Lighthouse Point, the Yamusenro family originally owned the Taste of Siam for 16 years at the Main Street Plaza in Lighthouse Point which they sold opening the fist Heart Rock Sushi in Fort Lauderdale’s Gateway Plaza in 1994. They opened this second location about six months ago.
Originally from Thailand, the owners fell in love with our tropical weather so similar to what they had grown up with in Thailand and decided to make this their home. Having been in this community for so long, they have repeat customers who now bring their own children and grandchildren, as well.
Their graciousness was outshone by their compassion for their employees, some of whom have been with them for over thirty years. No matter how difficult the economy, they look out for their employees and prepare a meal after each shift for the staff, a rare trait nowadays. No wonder the atmosphere of the restaurant felt so relaxing and inviting.
Ann emphasized that Thai and Japanese food is very healthy and light, not fattening. In keeping with this, a diner may request brown rice instead of white. Thai food also utilizes a lot of beneficial herbs such as lemongrass, galanga root similar to ginger root, basil, sorrento and garlic.
Starting with a cup of hot green tea, we tried the Miso soup ($3) and the Tom Yum soup with chicken ($3.50), both served in classic modern white ceramic bowls. The miso soup was satisfying with small cubes of soft creamy tofu, pieces of seaweed and slivers of scallions. The Tom Yum soup described as a spicy and sour broth was delicate and light achieving a balance of flavors. Served with chunks of fresh chopped tomatoes and straw mushrooms it was a refreshing way to start the meal. There were many tantalizing appetizers to choose from, starting at a modest price of ($2) for Mushroom Yakitori.
Followed by an assortment of Sushi & Sashimi ($22.95), the presentation was tantalizing and challenged us to go a bit beyond the usual tuna sashimi. With a sense of adventure, we ordered the Sweet Shrimp with the head ($3.75). It was a contrast in colors and taste sensations. The raw sweet shrimp lived up to its name, sweet and fresh. The head had been quickly deep fried to a light delicate crunch. I have eaten sushi all over the country, and the only other place I have been able to indulge in this particular delicacy was in San Francisco. It was a delight to have it offered on their menu here.
With so many intriguing selections available on their menu, it was a happy dilemma to decide what to choose next. Selecting the Spider Roll ($12.95) it is an intriguing mix of lightly battered soft shell crab, asparagus, avocado, scallion, fish roe with Japanese mayo both inside out with sesame seeds served with an eel sauce on the side. The textures were crunchy, salty and soft simultaneously, an explosion of flavors in the mouth. If this is something you have never tried, then make a point of trying it on your next visit.
A specialty that was not listed on the menu but available for the asking is the Seafood Platter ($29.95). This is a sumptuous seafood feast laden with Nicaragua lobster tail, large grilled butterfly shrimp, New Zealand mussels and tempura battered grouper done with a light hand, not greasy. These delicacies were laid over a bed of raw and cooked vegetables, drizzled with a lemon butter sauce dotted with bits of mushrooms, garlic and chili. While we expected it to perhaps to be a bit spicy, it was not, and with a nice under bite enhancing the flavors of the dish. A note: they make all of their sauces in-house from scratch. The lobster tail was sweet, cooked perfectly. The shrimp were lightly charred on the edges, picking up the lemon butter sauce very nicely. And the mussels on the half shelf were a welcome touch of color, taste and texture. There is obviously an attentive eye ensuring the quality of the dishes, the presentation in both the plating, as well as the platters themselves. Even the soy sauce, available in regular and heart friendly low sodium, were presented in delicate unusual glass bottles.
Ann, the owner, informed us that they are open to making special request dishes by their customers, so if you have something special in mind, simply ask!
Our last dish was the Ramen Noodle Soup with Chicken ($10.95). Served in a large oversized bowl it could feed two people along with perhaps an assortment of appetizers or sushi. The broth, made of homemade chicken stock, soy sauce and a bit of sugar, contained slivers of carrots, bok choy, napa cabbage, zucchini, pieces of chicken and a slice of fish cake with perfectly cooked long, thin noodles was addictive. While quite satisfied from the previous dishes, we managed to eat more than one bowl apiece. Yes, it was that good!
Moose convinced us to try a Heart Rock Sushi drink favorite, the Lychee Mojito ($10) made from Bacardi rum, lychee liqueur, lime and fresh mint. Topped with two fresh pieces of the lychee fruit, it was sweet and very refreshing. Among their cocktails ($10 – $12), other intriguing drinks included an Asian Pear Martini ($10) made with Absolut pears, white grape juice and fresh lemon; not something you will normally see on a drink menu. There is a wide assortment of wines, domestic and imported beers, plum wine and seven different kinds of sake to choose from. Happy hour runs every day from 3-7 pm featuring sake($5), domestic beer ($2), house wine ($3) and well mixed drinks ($4).
Of course, there is always room for dessert. We choose the Tempura Cheesecake with ice cream ($6.00). Served with a scoop of rich vanilla, refreshing coconut and cool green tea ice cream with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and whipped cream, it was a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The cheesecake with a crunchy outside was soft and creamy on the inside, a delightful ending to a delightful meal.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Lunch is served from 11:30 am- 3:00 pm.
Heart Rock Sushi is located at 4460 North Federal Highway, Lighthouse Point. Tel: (954-532-1763), www.heartrocksushi.com. (This review is for promotional purposes only)