Within the walls of any good restaurant is a story----a tale that gives context to the layout, the décor, and of course, the food. Tarakaan (pronounced tara-CON), the brand-new pan-Asian bistro-meets-nightclub now open for business in Midtown is certainly no exception to this rule.
“Tarakaan is a snapshot of Houston then and now”, owner Piran Esfahani explains. “It preserves and echoes elements of the past, including the Asian influence of this neighborhood, while creating an offering that speaks to the city’s cosmopolitan leanings and the international audience that visits and lives here.”
More specifically, however, the story of Tarakaan is eloquently elucidated through its menu, with entrees inspired and engineered by head chef Micah Rideout, whose colorful global background and experiences provide just the right amount of character to distinguish the cuisine from anything else offered in the city.
“My influences are pretty much just my travels”, Rideout tells. “Somebody asked me a couple days ago, ‘What would you say your food is?’ I was like, ‘confusion’.”
An American raised by missionary parents in Thailand, Rideout has combined his unique upbringing with his culinary training in Australia to give life to creations such as his ten-ingredient salad, an appetizer mostly meant to be shared that features deep-fried crispy rice noodles mixed in with an array of fruits, vegetables and herbs that is sure to have diners sparring with each other for the last bite.
If you’re looking for something a bit heartier, the lamb tagine might pique your interest. A lamb shank meticulously braised in a sweet potato massaman curry that’s practically dripping off the bone by the time it your table, the entrée is a wonderful mixture of spicy and sweet that can either be served over or carefully dissected and consumed piece by savory piece as a standalone dish.
Between the dim, swanky lighting, and the giant Buddha replica nonchalantly overlooking your dining experience, there are definitely as many stories waiting to be told in Tarakaan as there were during the process of its conception. Perhaps you’d like to hear them---or maybe you’d rather write your own. Either way, this is certainly one Midtown spot you need to check out.