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The first U.S location of a Japanese restaurant with a weird ‘racoon’ for a mascot comes to South Beach

Tanuki is a hip Japanese space, the first U.S. location of this Moscow-based chain. While respectful of traditional Japanese cuisine and serving textbook sushi and sashimi, they also serve playful, new-style Pan-Asian dishes. The weekend dim sum brunch with green tea French toast is just one of their cultural riffs. A giant statue of a tanuki (raccoon dog) is in the center of the room of their new South Beach spot. Tables outside flank 11th Street.

Get the fuku “lucky” buns with steamed cottony dough folded around house-cured pastrami with sauerkraut, pickles and mustard. Call it an Asian Reuben. Or try the crab summer roll in butter lettuce with avocado and rice noodles with nutty sesame aioli dipping sauce. The squid ink rice cracker topped with a dab of creamy risotto, eel and custardy uni (sea urchin) blends the flavors of sea and earth in one bite. Raw scallop slices are topped with truffle and panko crumbs. Raw snapper slices are heightened with jalapeño on a small nest of katafi (fine, crunchy phyllo shreds).

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