Dine in style on Pan-Asian cuisine at Tarakaan

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Tarakaan Interior | Photo courtesy of Tarakaan

Enjoy Pan Asian flavors in style at one of Midtown’s newest eateries Tarakaan.

UPDATE: Tarakaan is permanently closed.

Since its September 2015 opening in Midtown, Tarakaan has been serving up creative Asian dishes and cocktails packed with flavor and spice.

The delicious menu, created by Chef Micah Rideout, draws on recipes from across Asia; pairing perfectly with the restaurant’s similar continent-spanning décor.

The Vibe & Design at Tarakaan

Upon stepping into Tarakaan, visitors will take note of the (usually light) house music energizing the background. While it doesn’t dominate the eardrums, at least not until later in the night, the selections feature a faster beat and tempo than one typically expects during dinner, making the meal a more high energy affair.

On the far wall in the dining room, a large eight-foot tall Buddha statue is perched upon a four-foot pedestal. Bathed in red light, with a red wall of recessed candles at his back, he presides over the sunken dining area on his left and the bar and lounge on his right.

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Buddha Statue | Photo courtesy of Tarakaan

Windows onto Main Street line the dining area, lending a kinetic energy as cars and MetroRail trains pass by. Meanwhile, the dark brick walls behind the purple-hued bar are painted with the larger-than-life faces of demur, disinterested or simply mysterious geishas.

The split use of the space makes Tarakaan a good fit for a dinner date or a place to gather with friends for a cocktail or three. An additional backroom, which has its own retro Southeast Asian speakeasy vibe, is available on busy nights or for private events.

Tarakaan’s energy, aided by a DJ on select weekend nights, has made it a good destination for a late dinner or first stop for a night on the town.

The Pan-Asian Menu at Tarakaan

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Shrimp & Scallop Noodles | Photo courtesy of Tarakaan

Chef Rideout designed Tarakaan’s menu to encourage family-style dining and create new shared experiences for his diners. Plates, entrees and small plates are all meant to be shared and compared.

Dishes like the Tarakaan tower salad, crispy duck rolls, and papadom are all tasty small plates that’ll whet your appetite for the main courses, which can include lamb tangine, miso-glazed bass and curried cauliflower.

Drinks at Tarakaan

The cocktail menu is full of well-crafted drinks that compliment the menu, but also stand out on their own. The powerful Shiso apple whisky, the fiery Red Lantern made with white rum and the sweet Champagne firecracker are sure contenders; just as aesthetically pleasing as delicious to drink.

Prime Location in Midtown

Tarakaan is situated on Main Street near Elgin, directly off the MetroRail line; there’s also valet and street parking.

Given its close proximity to many Midtown bars and clubs, including the very uber-popular club Clé next door, it’s a great first stop for a night out in the ‘hood. Many in-the-know revelers will valet at Tarakaan, grab a bite or drink, and then slip over to Clé.

Tarakaan Restaurant & Lounge

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Mysterious Geisha Faces Behind the Bar at Tarakaan | Photo: 365 Houston
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Dominique McGhee is a contributing food and lifestyle writer for 365 Things to Do in Houston. He covers select events, activities and food happenings around the city. He also co-publishes The Monster Lifestyle blog.