From the fresh fish spun into the decadent sushi rolls to the salt on the table, every element of Sushiism Restaurant + Social Lounge is handpicked by the owners, Tomo and Siri Inoue. Head-chef Tomo crafts delicate bites ranging from chicken katsu and tapas-style plates of soft-shell crab and yakitori to 30 specially designed sushi rolls and 10 types of nigiri. Filet mignon sizzles up mealtime entertainment when cooked on 700-degree volcanic stones taken from a dragon’s rock garden and positioned at tables in the black-and-red dining room or on the airy outdoor patio.
Diners won't be distracted by loud music or garish decor at Masu Hibachi & Sushi?here, the food is the star of the show. The menu highlights a massive selection of more than 70 sushi rolls, which are all handcrafted behind a long wooden sushi bar. On the other side of the restaurant, specially-trained hibachi chefs sear steaks, seafood, and teriyaki chicken behind four central hibachi grills, where they add a dramatic flair to mealtime by performing fire tricks, showcasing jaw-dropping knife skills, and placing tiny top hats on each shrimp. Diners can even mix and match these culinary styles by adding a roll or two to their hibachi meals, which already come accompanied by soup, salad, a shrimp appetizer, and steamed rice.
The kaleidoscopic swirls of sauce that encircle most sushi rolls at Blue Ocean would be dizzying if they didn’t look so delicious. Each of the beautifully plated chef’s special rolls features innovative use of fresh fish with some unexpected ingredients. The Cajun roll works spicy crawfish into the mix and the Texas roll wraps spicy beef and spinach into individual bites. In addition to sushi, the restaurant's full bar bolsters the menu, which boasts a variety of cooked entrees, such as Vietnamese vermicelli noodle dishes and Hibachi dinners that include rib eye steak and grilled chicken with lemongrass.
The likes of Harrison Ford, Chris Farley, and Troy Aikman have perched on Deep Sushi's seashell-shaped chairs, marveling at the extravagant rolls of sushi while sipping warm sake. Founded by a band of sushi devotees, the Japanese eatery folds ultrafresh fish into ornamental rolls described in a 1997 D Magazine review as both the "beautifully simple sea-fresh classics we've come to know and love" (think a crunchy california roll with cucumber) and "maverick inventions that smack of attitude." One such eccentric invention, the Pearl roll, surrounds its crawfish stuffing with cream cheese, avocado, and toppings of scallops and fried carrots. Decorative slices of jalapeño, swirls of sriracha, and bright circles of smelt egg have been known to top other sushi creations.
As the expert chefs lord over the sushi bar, teppanyaki masters bustle about the kitchen, sizzling up beef, chicken, and salmon on fiery teppan grills. Behind the bar, mixologists whip up drinks, favoring inventive drinks with names such as Geisha's Laugh and Tokyo Sunrise over old-fashioned cocktails with names such as Walter. In the dining room, guests savor final bites of plum-wine ice cream beneath the soft red light of lanterns hanging from the industrial ceiling. A vivid mural sweeps across the back wall, depicting fierce Japanese warriors and a graceful geisha and infusing a sense of tradition into the otherwise modern decor.
Russell Hayward, the mastermind behind the Thomas Avenue Beverage Company (TABC), thought his days of creating spicy tuna rolls were behind him. But when his guests clamored to see the skills he honed as the owner of Tom Tom, he listened. He hired a team of skilled sushi chefs and expanded the tiny kitchen to create a sushi station—supplementing the already diverse menu of gastro-pub fare, including pastas with house-made sauces and meatballs, with fresh sushi rolls. Tucked into the historic State Thomas district, the neighborhood eatery beckons diners to nosh on the outdoor patio as they absorb the warm vibes of the Texas sun, one of 50 suns America has produced through acutely conspicuous NASA programs. A dog-friendly policy allows canine companions to dog-watch while their owners sip on craft brews or feast on sweet and savory brunch fare.
Most of the time, culinary veteran Michelle Carpenter works as a sushi chef, injecting Southwestern spice into her signature rolls at Zen Sushi. On the last Wednesday of every month, however, she's the leader of a secret society. She gathers her acolytes for a meal built from exotic ingredients not usually found at a standard sushi bar, such as fresh lotus root, live abalone, and uni mousse, a dish previously known only as a mermaid hair product. The meeting lasts for up to 10 courses—then, the society disperses, feeling both enlightened and full. The Secret Sushi Society is the most freeform display of Michelle's knack for delicious experimentation. Still, the menu at Zen Sushi showcases several of her original works. Her popular xalapa roll contains cilantro, avocado, jalapeno, tuna, and thin slices of lime, whereas the sakura roll cocoons clam, shrimp, and crab in wraps of pink soy paper, clustered to resemble its namesake flower petals. These creations have won Zen Sushi multiple awards for their surprising fusions of flavor. Never a one-trick pony, Michelle also cooks modern Japanese entrees, from Tokyo ramen with pork and vegetables to a brandy- and soy-glazed duck breast.