Category Archives: Asian

Sushirama

I guess I’m trying to make up for lost time by doing categorical posts, but I also feel like it’s more information in less time so it benefits everyone.  I know I look at other Houston food blogs solely to help me decide where I’d like to eat dinner if I’m looking for something new/the best of something, so here are some reviews on other Houston sushi joints I’ve tried in the past month or 2:

Soma – Probably my favorite sushi place in Houston at the moment.  Soma not only has nice sushi, but also has excellent kitchen dishes as well.  I’ve been here both for a full meal in the restaurant section as well as for the HH in the lounge only. Try the Crunchy Koi and the God Made/Man Made roll. Another crowd fave is the Crazy Irishman (also offered at Azuma) – I can’t say I think it’s the best sushi roll I’ve ever had, but for those more squeamish about eating raw fish, this might be a good choice. The only qualm I have with Soma is the parking situation. What is up with Valet these days? I’m getting a little fed up with having the valet guy park my car 5 feet away from me and then expecting some sort of compensation for it. Rant over.

Azuma – I wish I made it to Azuma more for dinner, but I actually partake in the lunch special quite often.  $12 for 3 hand rolls ain’t bad. Azuma is the first place I braved the hand roll, which is actually quite daunting for those new to sushi – it can also get a bit messy.  I asked my server the appropriate way to eat a hand roll and he said “like an ice cream cone!” – I haven’t looked back since.    The dynamite hand roll is dynamite.  Its spicy, simple and delicious.  In the order of 3 you also get the shrimp tempura hand roll and I believe a tuna hand roll – all wonderful and a ton of food for a little price tag.

Japainero’s (in Sugarland) It’s funny to me that Houston’s highest Zagat rated sushi restaurant is actually Japanese/Latin fusion, but hey I can’t complain.  My parents live in the Sugarland area so I always make a sincere effort to visit Japainero’s.  In addition to having one of the best bang for your buck lunch specials, Japainero’s also has quite a few inventive and tasty rolls.  My personal favorite is the Cabo San Lucas roll – spicy hamachi, green onion, jalapeno, soybean paper topped with avocado, chili powder and black tobiko served with baja dipping sauce & spicy ponzu. This whopper is 18 bucks, but is larger than your average roll.  You can actually order a half version for $9.

Dragon Bowl – I have a strange obsession with Ken Bridge’s restaurants. I can’t really put my finger on why – maybe it’s because the three places I know are my three favorite types of food: asian, pizza and diner. I like Dragon Bowl’s sushi – notably the Tiger Roll – but it is in no way the best sushi around.  It’s convenient, ultra casual and offers dishes to eat of your dining companion isn’t a sushi fan. I often order Dragon Bowl for eating in purposes because I can’t stomach grocery store sushi.  This is the closest you can get to good casual sushi, and that is why I love Dragon Bowl.

Raku – Definitely more of a date/intimate vibe.  The most interesting part of the menu is definitely trying fish flown directly from Japan’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market – I personally had the butter fish which was absolutely lovely.  Raku doesn’t try to impress you with fanciful or overly fried rolls – the specialty roll is hard to find.  The rolls are simple and straightforward and what would expect to find on any sushi menu – but are all incredibly fresh. Although Raku isn’t my favorite sushi in Houston, I definitely appreciate the simplicity of the sushi selection. I did not have the opportunity to try any dishes from the kitchen, which is where I’m told the food especially shines. Next time.

Uptown Sushi (again) – I find the sushi rice here to be my favorite in Houston and my absolute favorite part of the menu at Uptown is the Sushi Nouveau. The sushi chef creates a delicious little bite of sushi that is well worth the $4 you pay for it. The regular rolls are decent, but Uptown is the first sushi place I have been to where I couldn’t eat what I ordered.  The two culprits were the Red Roll and the Godzilla roll – the chili paste on the Red Roll is like a gelatin and the Godzilla Roll is just green tabasco-licious.  I don’t

Osaka – Osaka is a very run of the mill sushi joint.  Nothing overly awesome, but definitely not disappointing either.  Here is where you will find a double fried extra spicy may roll or a simple spicy tuna roll – their specialty roll list is plentiful.  Added bonus: you will inevitably get a free appetizer (something fried) or free dessert (green tea/mango/red bean ice cream). Who doesn’t love freebies at a meal? I know it makes me feel special. Osaka is someplace to go if you’re looking for a very casual place to have sushi with pretty nice prices.

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Sushi Edition: Blue Fish II and Kubo’s

Oh you know, just eating some sushi.

Oh you know, just eating some sushi.

One of my favorite things (among several others) about when Emily comes into town is that I get to eat sushi. Since her trip in town was extra long, we got to eat sushi TWICE. Jackpot.

I’ll keep the Blue Fish part short, as I was not impressed. Emily and I went to the Blue Fish House II in Sugarland (sorry, no pictures!) and ordered a veritable smorgasbord of sushi for sampling and a couple glasses of wine.

Rating: 5/10

Total Bill: <$15 (splitting everything below in half and a glass of white wine)

We chose:

  • Green salad (with Ginger Dressing) $3 (both of us ordered this)

The dressing was nice, but not my favorite ginger dressing (Benihana’s!)

  • Cutie hama roll – yellowtail, avocado, onion, flying fish roe, sprout, with mayonnaise ($6)

Although this was Emily’s choice, I liked it better than mine. It had an okay taste, and I enjoyed the onion.

  • Jade roll (6pcs.) – eel (but I subbed in red snapper), flying fish roe, seaweed salad, cucumber, special sauce ($7)

Def expected this to be the pièce de résistance of the meal, but I was totally disappointed.  Em liked it, but still wasn’t wowed.

  • Alaska roll – fresh salmon, avocado ($4)

Pretty solid, but I hate to say my favorite roll of the night was not a specialty roll.  Specialty rolls are what make a sushi place memorable.  Well, that and freshness.

For sushi in the Sugarland area, you can’t beat Japainero’s, located in Town Square. Excellent signature rolls!!

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Onto Kubo’s in Rice Village.  I’ve read before it should be a staple in the Houston sushionista’s diet, so I gave it a go. Ironically, I did not end up ordering sushi but did end up sampling some of Emily’s – I was impressed.

Rating: 8.5/10

Total bill: >$15 (Edamame, Tonkotso Ramen and Iced Tea)

  • Edamame ($4)

Typical and yummy.  I love this appetizer.

  • Tonkotsu Ramen – Pork Based Traditional Egg Noodle Soup with Braised Pork, Boiled Egg and Spinach ($8.50)

While it is not a substitute for Phở by any means, this ramen is also nothing like ramen noodles you buy for 15 cents at HEB.

Tonkotsu Ramen

Tonkotsu Ramen

Clearly, I don’t like the pickled pink things (yes, I am legit) or the boiled egg, the broth was so good – light yet savory. I often save the soup for being sick or cold weather, but I had always wanted to try Ramen at a Japanese place and I was very satisfied. A+!

As for the sushi,  Emily chose to have:

  • Tiger Eye roll (5 pc.): (this might not be 100% accurate, but) Salmon, cream cheese, fresh jalapeno, and masago ($7.50)

Emily was literally obsessed with the Tiger Eye roll.  It’s that bit of fresh jalapeno that does it for me personally.

  • Spicy tuna (8 pc.): spicy tuna on the inside, rice and masago on the outside ($6.50)

Spicy tuna delivered quite nicely, as the spice wasn’t a completely wasabi saturated taste. Verrrry nice.

Spicy Tuna, Tiger Eye, and soy sauce: Oh My! (i'm dumb)

Spicy Tuna, Tiger Eye(top), and soy sauce: Oh My!

That caption is kinda dumb.  Anyways, its 4:45 am and I can’t sleep. I’ll see you again soon, Kubo’s.

Side note: I want some Pho soon. Real soon.

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Uptown Sushi

Rating: 7/10 – a little meat markety for me, but still fresh sushi!

Total bill: <$20 (One roll, one sushi bite, and water)

I love sushi.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to eat it too much because most of the people I dine out with don’t like Sushi. Or even Asian.  Eventhough its my favorite genre of food. *Insert more complaints*

So, anyway I went out with Coree and I decided after doing comprehensive research on the best sushi in Houston, I came to Uptown Sushi, located in Uptown Park (Galleria Area)

I walked in at 7pm, and this is what my first impression was:

“Oh no, I am not going to be able to afford this dinner”

Some aesthetic observations:

1. It’s dark in there.  Unnaturally dark. And cold.  It was a strange feeling when I walked from the bright Houston heat into a candle lit meat freezer.

2. You might be paying for the atmosphere.  I knew it would be a little trendier of a place, but gave it the go ahead anyways, secretly hoping to meet a rich lawyer or something there. Oh me. Anyways, along with the dark and the cold, you can smell the snooty. No one was rude or curt with us, but we’re both 20 something women, so I’m not that surprised.

We settled at the sushi bar (no tables were available for 15-20 minutes) and the waitress promptly took our drink orders and unwrapped Coree’s chopsticks for her. I’d already unwrapped mine. Me classy.

My order:

Red Roll ($10): Avocado, cucumber, fresh jalapeno, sprouts and shrimp on the inside with thin slices of tuna and their spicy red pepper paste on the outside.

Well, it’s definately red.  When I envisioned “red pepper paste” i saw the typical Japanese spicy mayo, so I got pretty excited about it.  This red pepper paste looks like cubed red jell-o.  Still good, though. The roll had 8 pieces and was definately fresh. You can taste all the elements of the roll in each bite, but it was still pretty tiny. Overall, good.  I’ll go with a different one next time…

Sea Salt Snapper ____ ($4):I left that little blank because Uptown sushi has a title for menu items off this list.  What they are are little one bite pieces of sushi that are chef created and aren’t supposed to be enjoyed with soy sauce.  I was intrigued by them, so I had one. Delicioso (because I can’t say delicous in Japanese)! I couldn’t find what exactly what was on it on the website, but from my memory, it’s a piece of fresh Snapper, topped with garlic, sea salt, and what appeared to be caviar. I don’t know though, but it was definately black fish eggs.

P.S. – I know I didn’t take pictures, but since no one reads this…. who cares. Also, I felt like a hilbilly taking pictures of my food in such a classy joint.

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