Taiken: A hidden sushi restaurant in Miraflores stands up to tough competition
The open-air seating area at the back of Taiken is great for enjoying sushi with a group.
By Sheila Jeanneau
Photos by Alix Farr
May 18, 2012
You may have driven past Taiken many times and not noticed it. The restaurant is unassuming and set back a bit from the street. It is situated in a highly competitive area for sushi in Miraflores. Edo Sushi, another popular restaurant for sushi is located on the same block on Berlin. The food at Taiken is just as impressive as other sushi establishments I have dined at such as Hanzo, Osaka, Edo and several more. Taiken has something on the menu for everyone. I think it is safe to say that you could bring a person with you that is not a great lover of fish and they would still enjoy the dining experience.
From the street, Taiken looks like a small restaurant, but upon entering you have a selection of areas in which to dine. There is a sushi bar and dining area immediately when you enter the premises. As you continue to walk through, you will find a comfortable, small lounge area with plush chairs as well as a few other areas with tables. In the rear section of Taiken, you will find an open-air area with lots of natural lighting, as well as a small, intimate area for a possible private party. There is also a private garden space on the back patio and another sushi bar is located in the back of the restaurant. You have your pick of seating from intimate to bustling.
The culinary team at Taiken made our dining experience shine. Shinji Soeda, the head chef, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu (Ottawa, Canada), with extensive experience in Peruvian and Japanese fusion cuisine, and in Asian and international hotels and major restaurants in Osaka, Japan, Mexico, the United States, Cuba and Peru. Satoshi Nishimura, is a master chef with over 15 years experience in traditional Japanese cuisine. They also have a team of chefs who have graduated from major cooking schools in Lima.
The day our team visited Taiken for lunch, we noticed that the restaurant was not terribly busy. We were told that the main crowd comes to dine in the evening hours. The most popular dishes are also the maki rolls. The maki rolls were impressive, but Taiken has so many other great dishes that they offer.
We began our dining experience with a couple of the house cocktails, including the Japanese Slipper, which had pisco, sake, pineapple and orange juices along with a touch of marasquino cherry liquor. Another drink that was a pleasant surprise was the kumiko, which consisted of sake, blue curacao, milk and crème of coconut. Now I know what I can do with that bottle of blue curacao I have sitting in my house. House cocktails range between 17 and 24 soles.
We sampled a a bit of everything from the Taiken menu, including hot and cold appetizers, a main dish, maki rolls, a soup and a boxed lunch. Every dish we shared, we all agreed, were delicious. Not one disappointed us.
The hotate jungle (6 pieces for 20 soles) was a hot appetizer prepared with sea scallops with melted parmesan cheese on top and accompanied by cecina (an Amazonian cured ham) with chimichurri sauce.
The sakura ribs (35 soles) that followed were one of the table favorites. The pork ribs arrived at our table glazed in a sweet sauce of cocona (a tropical fruit native to Peru and similar to an orange) and sesame seeds. This plate also included some amazing crunchy fritters called tacacho (basically yuca which was mashed together with onion, cilantro and other spices). The combination was superb.
We moved on to the karashi tuna maki roll and the abura protein rolls (8 rolls for 28 soles). They were a very light and fresh dish with assorted vegetables, which were wrapped inside the fish of the day.
The tonkotsu ramen soup (25 soles) was large enough to share and would be ideal on a winter day in Lima. A large ceramic bowl is filled with a nutritious variety of miso-based broth, pork, various Japanese vegetables, a hard-boiled egg, seaweed and ramen noodles. I will definitely be returning to have this again. A beautiful decorative, black lacquer box arrived at our table following our soup. The tori no teriyakidon (25 soles), was one of Taiken's traditional lacquer box lunch offerings. When we opened the decorative box, we found a perfect portion of perfectly crispy-skinned boneless teriyaki chicken with rice and vegetables. The restaurant offers 11 different variations of these box lunches, ranging in price from 25 to 50 soles.
I have found maki rolls to be the most popular items in sushi restaurants throughout Peru. Without exception, the acevichado roll at Taiken was one of the better ones I have found. I order these often at many different restaurants around Lima. This version is comprised of shrimp tempura using panko and avocado enveloped by tender, moist rice and topped off with a generous slice of extremely fresh tuna. The acevichado (basically lime juice, peppers and milk) gave the sauce a creamy, mayonaise-like texture. All makis are available in platters of five (17 soles) or ten (28 soles) individual rolls.
I would also like to mention the moriawase. These are items/menu sets for larger groups. A variety of sashimis, nigiris, makis and appetizers are artistically arranged on a wooden board perfect for sharing. They range in price between 40 and 120 soles.
I am looking forward to Taiken's continued success and will return soon to delight my taste buds once again.
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