At trendy Soma on Houston’s Washington Avenue by Durham Drive, sushi meets haute cuisine with a flourish. An extensive sake list starts the show, while cocktails are prepared sous-vide inside a vacuum-sealed bag to intensify their flavors. The food, of course, receives much of the same treatment. This is Japanese-French fusion, mixing traditional and signature sushi rolls, ramen noodles and assorted entrées, but each with perked-up ingredients and a showy presentation. There’s grass-fed beef slices, shiitake and fish cake inside that bowl of ramen, while shareable plates conquer Korean bo saam, bourbon smoked pork, with kimchi and red spicy paste. The interior is just as modern, with sleek taupe grey walls, hanging lanterns and touches of flashy red throughout.
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.
Tyson Cole fell in love with sushi when he was just a dishwasher. His drive to learn the art propelled him to study in Tokyo, and eventually, to win a 2011 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest. He now presides over Uchi's sushi bar, where he chats with guests and assembles tasting plates of smoked baby yellowtail, pork belly, and Japanese sea bream.
A dim red glow reflects off dark walls at The Fish, and a vibrant, lush interior sets the stage for its succulent sushi, which snagged Citysearch's "Best of" honors in 2007. The varied menu offers a multitude of inventive seaweed cylinders. A molten shellfish flow runs through the volcano ($10), neatly stuffed with savory baked snow crab, salmon, scallops, and wrapped scallions. Decorated seafood veterans will salute the lobster roll's badges of avocado, cream cheese, crab, and wasabi mayo ($13). Aside from raw rolls, the grilled beef rib-eye roll ($10) features juicy cuts wrapped around avocado and dashes of cilantro and teriyaki. Replenish your tongue's spice rations with the pan-seared jalapeño scallops ($8), or bedeck it in broiled miso silver cod ($15), the sea's authorized currency.