Five things to know about Takato

[image_with_text image=”30199″ title=”Dream Come True”]

After adding to his reputation as a kitchen visionary in recent years while executive chef at Monkitail inside the The Diplomat in Hollywood, Taek Lee (aka chef Taka) has planted his own flag at the Conrad with Takato, a chic, contemporary Asian restaurant that celebrates his culinary journey. “I’ve always dreamed of creating my own experience and hand-selecting a team from the best restaurants in South Florida,” he says of the concept that opened in October. “Aligning with a luxury brand like Conrad has been extremely exciting; when the opportunity opened, I knew it was the best choice.”

[/image_with_text][image_with_text image=”30200″ title=”Home Cooking”]

The menu at Takato, in the same oceanfront space formerly occupied by Terra Mare, draws from chef Taka’s early kitchen influences in South Korea, as well as his longtime passion for Japanese cuisine. The result is an exhilarating, flavor-rich spin on experiential dining with cultural touchpoints at every turn. Wasabi, for example, is created and served tableside; an expert in dumpling rolling kneads and stuffs the dough from scratch before tableside cart delivery of the finished product.

[/image_with_text][image_with_text image=”30201″ title=”Sights to Behold”]

While there’s no mistaking the artistry inherent to each presentation at Takato, the Instagram-worthy offerings aren’t just for show. “No dish is ever overpowered with sauces, but the freshness of every ingredient complements the other,” chef Taka says. “That’s authentic Japanese and Korean cuisine—allowing each ingredient to shine with a few sauces.” Look no further than the tangy Angry Chicken starter, crisped to perfection and tossed in garlic, gochujang and ginger, with tofu feta in the mix to ease the spice.

[/image_with_text][image_with_text image=”30202″ title=”We’re Hooked”]

Whether it’s the deftly curated sushi menu or entrees like the melt-in-your-mouth Chilean sea bass—marinated for more than a full day in soy, mirin (a more sugary sake) and honey—seafood at Takato is a showstopper unto itself. Salmon tataki on the sushi menu boasts organic king salmon marinated in miso for six hours that’s topped with mustard tofu and served with truffle ponzu. The crispy tuna, which quickly emerged as a must-have starter, features pan-seared sushi rice topped with tuna and mixed with spicy aioli.

[/image_with_text][image_with_text image=”30203″ title=”Crowd Faves”]

Chef Taka is especially fond of the short rib jabche, a traditional Korean dish that stars short rib braised for six hours, along with noodles made from sweet potato, stir-fried vegetables and enoki mushrooms—all topped by a fried egg. Also drawing early raves from guests: Wagyu skirt steak (featuring a wasabi chimichurri that combines South Florida and Japanese influences; featured article image); and homemade kimchi fried rice (think rice, beef, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, poached egg, fermented Napa cabbage and Korean spices) served in a hot stone bowl and mixed tableside.

[/image_with_text][image_with_text image=”30204″ title=”Did You Know?”]

  • After graduating from culinary school in South Korea, chef Taka (who also served in the Republic of Korea Army for three years) honed his skills at a Japanese restaurant in Seoul. Inspired by the cuisine and the culture, he moved to Japan and perfected his talents there for the better part of five years until moving to the United States in 2002. Prior to settling in South Florida, he served as head sushi chef for Starr Restaurant Group in Philadelphia.
  • Breakfast is served on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting at 8 a.m. Offerings include buttermilk waffles, avocado toast with poached eggs—and a crunchy French toast that combines Texas toast and crushed corn flakes.
  • Cocktails are equally rich in flavor, with cultural nods in drinks like the Sekushi Sour (cognac, apricot liqueur and apple syrup) and the Shikoku Margarita (mezcal, pineapple, passion fruit, cardamon and agave).


Where: Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, 551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.

Phone: 954.414.5160

Website: takatorestaurant.com

You May Also Like

The Dish: All Hail Queen Miami Beach

The showstopping concept from Mr. Hospitality takes destination dining to new heights.

Tom Aviv, Masterchef Israel Champion, Brings His American Venture to Upper Buena Vista

The Israeli sensation’s restaurant offers an innovative menu and retro vibe that transports guests to Tel Aviv in the 70s.

Bar Lab’s Christine Wiseman Receives Top Bartending Honor From North America’s Best Bars

The Miami-based lifestyle consulting and precision management agency focuses on creative hospitality, event planning, market branding and innovative beverage programs.

Padrino’s Opens New Plantation Location Featuring Contemporary Design and Cocktail Menu

The Cuban restaurant continues to offer its beloved homemade classics that are true to its authentic roots.

Other Posts

Alpareno Restaurant Group Receives Michelin Bib Gourmand Award

The hospitality company was founded by Chef Niven Patel and Mohamed “Mo” Alkassar.

Award-Winning Brazilian Chef Joins Forces With Riviera Dining Group to Host Two-Night Culinary Takeover at Mila Omakase

The collaborative effort will offer a special menu that celebrates the rich culinary traditions of Japan, the Mediterranean, and Latin America.

Okeydokey, a New Food-Driven Dining and Entertainment Destination, Opens in Brickell

The three-level concept features six full-service kitchens, three bars and an outdoor terrace set within a community-oriented environment.

New Salty Donut Location to Debut in Wynwood This Summer

The well-known donut shop is moving its original location to a spot just a few steps from its current store.