I was recently invited to check out Tarakaan, Midtown's hottest new restaurant and lounge. All I can say is, "Wow". Tarakaan exudes elegance from the food to the decor to the drinks. The brown double doors and wall of red tiles outside of this former warehouse leave you little clues as to the wonders that await inside. However, once you cross the threshold you will be amazed at the striking use of color and tasteful blend of old and new.
The focal point of the great room is a massive seated Buddha, framed by a candlelit wall. While it was still light outside, I enjoyed dining in the bright open area with floor-to-ceiling windows. Later in the evening, I found myself drawn to the bar and the brick wall adorned with beautiful geisha faces.
The drink menu here is fabulous and there is definitely something for all tastes. Whiskey lovers will enjoy Tarakaan's extensive list and the Shiso Apple Whisky Cocktail is a refreshing take on a classic old fashioned. Tarakaan's Specialty Cocktails include unique ingredients such as lemongrass, black pepper syrup, buttery pea flower extract, and pandan leaf syrup. My favorite was the Blue Blushing Dragon with Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Patron Citronge Mango, Lavender syrup, lemon wedges, and blueberries. Wine and Sake is also available.
Tarakaan's cuisine is upscale pan-Asian that consists of shareable plates as well as entrees. Executive Chef Micah Rideout's Thai roots really shine through in his dishes as evidenced by his use of fresh flavorful ingredients and spices. The food at Tarakaan is simplistic, yet elegant. The Hamachi Tiradito and Tom Yum Shishito peppers were some of my favorites. However, the star of the evening was the Bacon Bowl with Tarakaan bacon, palm caramel, pickled mustard greens, and a crispy Panko fried soft boiled egg. I can't wait to see what Chef Micah has in store when Sunday Brunch is added later this fall.
Tarakaan is a chic bistro with complex character. The bar and lounge area is the perfect happy hour spot to meet up with friends and share some light bites. It's Midtown location makes it an ideal choice for pre-theater dining or stop by after 10pm when it turns into a sexy club open until 2am. There is plenty to enjoy about Tarakaan no matter what time you visit and it's undoubtedly one of my new favorite restaurants.
Address: 2301 Main St, Houston, TX 77002
Wednesday: 4:00 – 11:00 pm
Thursday - Saturday: 4:00 pm – 2:00 am
Special thanks to Stuart Rosenberg of Studio Communications, Tarakaan General Manager Geoff Harmison, Executive Chef Micah Rideout, and Beverage Manager David Cyranowicz.
Wine drinkers make the best friends. Great conversations always arise over a glass (more likely a bottle) of wine. One day The Drunken Diva ran into The Unsophisticated Woman. She is a lover of wine, cheese, and is full of fun, educational stories. She happened to be teaching a cheese pairing class at The Woodlands Cheese Course and I decided to check it out. I love wine and cheese, but when it comes to pairing, I usually stick with red wine and bleu cheese. So I was excited to find out more about my two favorite things.
The Cheese Course is a lovely little place that serves soups, salads, sandwiches, and of lots and lots of wonderful cheese. I expected to sit down and be told which cheeses to pair with sparkling wines, whites, and reds. Instead it was more of a flavor journey. I was given a chart that listed five cheeses and five wines along with a grading key to score each pairing. The five cheeses were Fol Epi, Ossauriaty, Truffle Tremor, Robiola, and Bleu d'Auvergn. The wines were La Crema Pinot Gris, Cambria Chardonnay, Decero Malbec, Freemark Merlot, and Chianti Classico. I was instructed to first try each cheese on its own and describe the flavors. Was it creamy, nutty, or tangy? Next, each cheese was to be tasted with each wine and rated based on whether the combination was fantastic, horrible, or meh.
It was interesting to see how certain combinations appealed to some, but not to others. Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods always says, "If eat looks good, eat it!" I believe the same is true for wine and cheese. There is no set rule. Find a wine you like, find a cheese you like, throw in a dollop of honey or fig jam, some nuts, crackers, and enjoy!
To see The Unsophisticated Woman in action, check out her next class at The Cheese Course . To reserve a spot call (832) 246-8884. She is also available for at home wine and cheese parties, seminars, and consulting. Cheers!
About the Author
I like eating, traveling, and enjoying liquid libations. I'm all about great wines, signature cocktails, and local brews.