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.
Taisho is so serious about hibachi and teppanyaki that they have an entire room devoted to it: in the Hibachi Room, chefs sear meats and veggies on specialized tabletop grills, flipping them theatrically onto a cushion of rice, in turn located on guests' plates. Their performances are not limited to the Hibachi Room though, as they can also pull tableside grills up to the main dining room's semi-private circular booths. In either space, they let guests choose to have their teppanyaki plates bulked up with a diverse selection of meats and seafood, including teriyaki chicken, sirloin, gulf shrimp, or scallops.
The chef's specialty entrees include sashimi-grade tuna steak with an apple-olive sauce and macadamia chicken sweetened with pineapple, combining more flavors than Manhattan combines people of different walks of life who all hate hailing cabs. Beyond the flames shooting up from the grills, the ambience on Friday and Saturday evenings is set by a rotating lineup of musicians that create soothing background sounds.
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.
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.
A native of Taiwan and veteran chef with more than 20 years of experience, Redfish Seafood chef David Chang whips up a culinary cornucopia of fresh seafood dishes that borrow from his experiences working in French, Chinese, and Japanese kitchens. Fresh grouper and bacon-wrapped scallops get a tropical spin thanks to a drizzle of key lime sauce, while parmesan dusted sea bass soaks up the salty notes of a miso reduction. Hot rocks shrimp and stuffed mushrooms provide a poppable prelude to a savory seafood dinner and lobster bisque or gumbo fill the spoons of lads and ladies who lunch. As guests gobble down forkfuls of fresh fish, their eyes take in an ambiance inspired by their own patronage. The second floor of the restaurant showcases a wall mural composed by frequent customer and local artist Ray Shipman, who painted whimsical caricatures of Redfish Seafood regulars. At the second location in Cypress, an aquarium designed and build by chef David himself sets a maritime mood and dazzles diners with its collection of eye-catching fish and their spot-on Don Knotts impersonations.
At Zushi Japanese Cuisine, experienced executive sushi chef Christopher Nemoto draws from traditional Japanese culinary traditions and augments them with modern flourishes. The result is a menu of inventive fresh sushi and Japanese classics. In the Houston Press’s list of top 10 sushi restaurants, the writer hailed both the restaurant's fresh fish and its "impeccably seasoned rice." Patrons can sample both in the eatery's delectable specialty rolls, including the Slammin Sammy—a mélange of imitation crab, cucumber, and cream cheese topped with smoked salmon and a citrus chili paste; or the Surf and Turf—finely sliced and grilled rib-eye steak with carrot, jalapeño, avocado, and sweet lobster. And as diners sup on the delicate pinks and oranges of tuna and salmon or the mottled grays of the countertop roll, they'll do so amid the chic ambiance of a sushi bar complete with booths, patio seating, and a cocktail bar equipped with flat-screen televisions.