Take a Taste Tour of Asia at Tanuki

By Mitchell Nover

I’ve said many times that Miami is lacking in quality Asian food, but I recently stumbled upon a restaurant that offers unique yet authentic fare in the most unexpected setting — the heart of Alton Road on South Beach. That’s right, Tanuki (1080 Alton Rd, Miami Beach) masterfully serves up a taste of Asia in a contemporary setting. Don’t let the flashy façade fool you, you’re into a fun foodie experience.

Menu highlights: Helmed by Chef Drew Andrade, Tanuki’s menu brings you masterfully prepared delicacies originating from all corners of Asia, including Japanese, Thai, Korean, Malaysian, and Chinese options with modern twists.

In dining situations like this, I’m all about samplers because they allow you to sample as much food as possible with smaller serving sizes. So sample I did, and highlights included: Snapper Ceviche (avocado, serrano, dry miso, orange vinegar), Shisho Salmon (honey yuzu, crispy shiso), Salmon with Pear, Scallop with Black Truffle, Uni Rice Cracker, and Toro Tiradito (cilantro vin, smoked miso, dehydrated oil). Great for starters to share with friends, these selections are all light, fresh, and packed with flavor. A great way to kick off your meal.

On the sushi side, try the Abur Salmon (eel aioli, cream cheese, lightly torched salmon), Truffled Yellowtail (yellowtail, chili daikon, avocado, tenkasu), or Black Dragon (shrimp, avocado, eel, tobikko, scallion, sesame seeds). I find sushi rolls to be where most restaurants really play and Tanuki is no different. That said, the authentic flavor profiles of Japanese cuisine are still present. And, Nigiri and Shashimi options are also available for those true traditionalists.

Standout dish: I’m a sucker for dim sum, so it’s no surprise that my favorite part of the meal came from that section of the menu. Tanuki offers up these delicious dumplings individually or, you guessed it, as part of a Dim Sum Selection that brings five different kinds across 10 pieces. Standouts such as Shrimp Har Gow, Chicken Siu Mai, Tom Yum Shrimp Moneybag, Seafood Dumpling, and Mushroom & Potato are not to be missed.

Are we boozing? Tanuki’s cocktail menu is creative and cool, so why not enjoy a drink or two? A few that I tried were the Ohigan (togorashi chili-infused mezcal, mirin, caramelized pineapple, hickory agave, black pepper, and citrus), Tanabata (gin, vanilla, umeshu, bee pollen syrup, chia seeds, passion fruit, and yuzu foam), and Samurai Mule (vodka, grilled apple & chili jam, kaffir lime leaves, ginger beer, and citrus).

Check this place out if you like: Asian-inspired restaurants that don’t take themselves too seriously (except when it comes to the food). Spots like Dragonfly in Doral, DÔA, and Talde come to mind.

Mitch’s take: I’m here for Tanuki. I thought the place was fresh, the food fun, and I left my meal feeling super full and extremely satisfied. What more can you ask for?

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