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.