At Taikin Restaurant in Doral, Chef Cesar Gonzalez combines Asian and South American cuisine for a fusion menu.
“I’m open-minded and love to try all the recipes,” Gonzalez tells WebMD. new Times. “My inspiration comes from the things I see, the dishes I try, and from conversations with diners and other chefs. Then I mix a traditional recipe with something I like.”
The Venezuelan native moved to Miami in 2002 and began his local culinary career at the now-closed Sushi Samba on Lincoln Road, working behind Ceviche and Raw Bar. It was there, he says, that he learned “about the organization and attentiveness that the Japanese do in everything they do, including food,” and how it can be combined with Latin flavor.
In 2014, González co-founded Bocas Grill and remained a partner until January 2018, when he along with entrepreneur Heriberto Hernández purchased Taikin. Together, they remodeled the restaurant and reopened it with a menu more closely related to Gonzalez’s native South America.
The food menu is divided into nine sections, through various permutations of ceviche to noodles and sushi rolls, with guests calling González a “homage to cultural integration.”
“My staff is very multicultural and I like to involve them in creating the dishes,” he says. “It’s our way of promoting inclusion, through food.”
Examples include an Asian arepa, a rice-based dish that embodies González’s vision, shrimp, crab, or salmon with surimi, arugula, toasted quinoa, spicy mayo, tobiko, avocado, scallion, and avocado ($14). to fuse; and rump steak-Stuffed Bao Buns ($17).
Spread across 2,600 square feet, the taikin (the Japanese word for “luck”) exudes a casual atmosphere, with an open kitchen and decor in red and brown. The dining room seats 120 between its indoor and outdoor areas, brought to life by rotating DJ sets.
The chef says that combining different cultures through food is easier than many people imagine. “We put one dish together, realize what we can do, and then move on to the next.”
taikin asian cuisine. 7450 NW 104th Ave., Doral; 786- 814-5605; taikinrestaurant.com. Open daily from 12:30 PM to 10 PM
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