Tako may mean octopus in Japanese, but at D’Tako Market in Sunny Isles Beach, it means a corn tortilla folded up with various fillings and salsas.
The large space offers Mexican favorites in a friendly atmosphere with pillars wrapped in thick rope and lights enclosed in what resemble slatted wood balloons.
Owner Alexis Weinberg is Mexican and Polish and grew up in Mexico City. He met Raul Chavez (pictured) at a seafood taco stand in Ixtapa, about 150 miles northwest of Acapulco. Raul grew up in the kitchens of the hotels his father managed, working his way up from dishwasher to chef.
When Alexis relocated to Miami, he called Raul, who created D’Tako’s menu. They opened eight months ago, hiring Cuban-born chef Tahimy Don, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Miramar.
Tortilla soup is a purée of tomatoes, chicken broth and dark red pasilla chiles poured into a bowl with fried tortilla strips, a slice of avocado, swirl of sour cream and bits of epazote, an herb that adds a peppery anise flavor.
Ceviche originated along the Pacific coast in the Americas, and the versions here include the Veracruz, with poached shrimp in lime and pineapple juice; the Ixpata, with diced mahi in sweet tomato and citrus sauce; and the Vallarta, with mahi in lime juice with red onion, carrot and tomato.
The signature dish is the Azteca, served in a stone molcajete that’s filled with bubbling tomato- and cilantro-based sauce with shrimp, strips of skirt steak, chicken, bell peppers, cheese and nopale cactus dangling from the rim. It comes with rice and refried black beans and corn tortillas for making your own tacos with tomatillo salsa and habanero hot sauce.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.