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).
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.
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.
Topped with salmon, two kinds of tuna, eel, and red snapper, the Harry Roll is an elaborate creation named for Sasu Sushi's owner. Drizzled in each one of the house sauces and sprinkled with chili pepper, this roll lets the chefs demonstrate their sushi-rolling prowess in a way a simple california roll can't. But that’s not to say that the basic rolls here aren’t crafted with as much care as they are packed with fresh ingredients. In fact, diners can watch the chefs in action from a seat at the cozy restaurant's sushi bar. Guests can also tuck into other Japanese staples, including tempura, noodle, and fried rice dishes before chasing the whole thing with sake bombs.
Matsu Sushi Bar's chefs are traditionalists both in their classic recipes and their decor. They feature raw fish throughout their menu, from the tuna tartare appetizers to sushi rolls such as their yellowtail with green onions. They also keep real bonsai trees in their dining rooms, each upwards of 40 years old. They rotate the plants almost ritualistically to make sure that branches get even amounts of light; this helps leaves fill in evenly and is a good way to convince people that it's a different bonsai than the one that tapped their shoulder.