Love the Nightlife

Midtown Asian spot embraces neighborhood's nightclub vibe, ditches restaurant service

Midtown Asian spot embraces nightclub vibe, ditches restaurant service

Tarakaan has ceased restaurant operations but will remain open as a nightclub. Photo by Eric Sandler

Midtown may be adding more restaurants to supplement its thriving bar scene, but it's still the neighborhood where Houstonians go to party. Now, one concept that tried to be both a nightclub and a restaurant has decided it's customers prefer drinking and dancing to dining.  

Tarakaan, the pan-Asian hot spot inspired by Buddakan in New York City, has suspended culinary operations and will continue on as a nightclub and lounge. Executive chef Micah Rideout is no longer involved with the concept. 

"With our background in commercial real estate, as well as being established operators with many years of experience opening and managing restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the Houston area, we are constantly reviewing business performance and best use of space," owner Piran Esfahani writes in an email. "As we celebrate Tarakaan’s successes over the past six months, while the venue has earned acclaim and a fan base for its creative Pan Asian menu, it’s become evident through guest interactions and alcohol sales that the key draw of the concept is that of an upscale and upbeat lounge and nightclub that complements its particular Midtown location."

With its proximity to Midtown hotspot Clé, Esfahani tells CultureMap that he and his partners observed more and more of their customers were just coming to drink and enjoy the space's atmosphere. Rather than fight the trend, they opted to capitalize on the synergy. Going forward, the space will be open only Thursday through Saturday, and the kitchen will be closed except for private events. 

"The block has been getting very busy late at night. I hope that will stay the same," Esfahani says. "As our neighbor, I don’t view (Clé) as competition. I view it as an opportunity to make it more energetic and give people different choices."

While Tarakaan's time as a restaurant has come to an end, Esfahani says he still believes in the concept and thinks it would work somewhere that's more restaurant-oriented. It just won't be in Houston's party district.