Leaping flames illuminate hibachi chefs' faces as they sear steak, chicken, and seafood in the kitchen of Nikko Sushi & Steak, a Houston eatery whose menu centers on the triad of sushi, steak, and sake. Signature house rolls, such as the spicy baked crawfish roll topped with crabstick, complement sashimi and udon noodles in clear broth. Meats such as tender rib eye and new york strip steak give the menu an American twist without printing it on the Liberty Bell. While they await their dinners, diners cozy up in plush red booths curtained for privacy, sit at traditional tables, or pull up stools to the bar illuminated by hanging lights evocative of traditional paper lanterns.
Kenzo Sushi Bistro's crafty culinary mariners serve up a fresh, creative menu culled and rolled from the fruits of the sea and much more. Commence the noshery with a hot appetizer such as the succulent scallop butteryaki ($9) or the well-behaved seven-spice calamari ($9), and cool off your tongue with cold starters such as fresh salmon ceviche ($9). Seafarers can sample the cougar roll, a zesty fusion of spicy tuna, cucumber, avocado, and ponzu sauce, or up their bandwidth with a colorful collection of seaweed tubes such as sushi combo A ($16), which includes a luscious LAN party of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and more. Stop by during lunch hour for Kenzo's bento boxes, which pack a wallet-friendly wallop of a veggie roll, gyozo, four-piece California roll, steamed rice, and your choice of entree ($7–$8).
Kitchen magicians spin knives like batons and conjure up sizzling meals tableside, bringing to life a classic Japanese menu. In dramatic bursts of flame, the teppanyaki griddle covers cuts of sirloin, bite-size scallops, and fresh vegetables with fiery kisses that seal in juices and burn away the painful memories from surf 'n' turf breakups. For sushi fanatics, the sushi bar offers more than 20 elegant rolls.
Geometric paneling and wood inlay over shining fabric invoke a traditional Japanese atmosphere for diners, who gather around broad tables where griddles create a shining, interactive centerpiece for cooking and scallop shuffleboard.
Diners watch, transfixed, as a chef deftly chops, flips, and sears their meal in front of them while flames leap from the grill. This is Shogun Grill, where customers are often just a seat away from the culinary action.
The griddle-cooked teppenyaki dishes aren’t just for show, either. Packed with fresh chicken, steak, and vegetables, the entrees sate taste buds whose idea of a Japanese meal is more than just tipping a few soy-sauce packets into your mouth. The chefs also whip up fresh sushi starring salmon, eel, soft-shell crab, and smelt eggs.
After honing her skill and chef's knife at two of her restaurants in Iowa, Yong's Asian Fusion & Sushi owner Yong Kolkman set her sights on Houston, eager to blend Chinese-Korean cuisine with the steak-and-burger fare of southeast Texas. The menu unites the Far East, Midwest, and Deep South. Iowa-style breaded-pork sandwiches, Japanese Teriyaki dishes, zesty General Tso's chicken, sushi, and chicken-fried steak are just a few of the offerings. The space evokes a rustic, roadhouse vibe, with corrugated metal walls peppered with Texas flags, Houston sports posters, and shrines to Sam Elliott's mustache.
Three-sided tables house massive hot griddles at Koby Japanese Steakhouse, where chefs deftly dance with blades and flames to transform food preparation into a show. During dinner, they dice meats, juggle knives, and drum rhythms against the tabletops. They sculpt fried rice into massive hearts before slicing portions off and delivering them to guests’ waiting plates. For the finale, they prepare different proteins—from chicken to lobster—in signature sauces before they disappear in puffs of steam from their freshly cleaned griddles.