Restaurant Reviews

The Best Bet for Novice Diners at Taiko Is to Stick to the Basic Menu

The tempura at Taiko Japanese Restaurant is wispy light and incredibly crisp at the same time. It doesn't matter if you order the shrimp, the vegetable or the bakudan (which means "bomb"), a big ball of vegetable tempura the size of a small football. Each bite, dipped into the scratch-made tempura sauce steeped with freshly grated daikon radish, is delectable, an explosion of texture and flavor.

The shrimp tempura arrives in a small bamboo basket with a peep-through lattice-patterned lid, giving a glimpse of what's beneath. This attention to presentation, this small artistic touch, is just one of the things that make this restaurant so special. The fact that it's owned and operated by first-generation Japanese who have been working in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years is another.

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Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham