By Molly Dunn
By Catherine Gillespie
By Brooke Viggiano
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Mai Pham
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Minh T Truong
That snapper was a special of the night, as was a limited supply of uni. And what terrific little bites they both were: the snapper still crunchy and warmed by a very light drizzle of spicy ponzu sauce, the uni buttery and briny-sweet. It was my dining companion's first taste of the sea urchin roe, and I warned him: "You're getting spoiled tonight. Most uni in Houston isn't this good."
His eyes widened at the way the uni looked on its fat bulwark of rice and seaweed — like a stack of bright orange tongues, complete with tiny tastebuds, plucked from the mouths of some mythical creatures — but he was surprised to find the roe so creamy and so sweet.
Just as quickly, however, he was on to two of Michiru's enormous American-style rolls (although he admitted later he couldn't decide which he'd liked best — the uni or the rolls). One, a nightly special, was full of Dungeness crab for $13. The other was a "Texas roll," one of those interesting specialty rolls that are offered at sushi restaurants across the state (and even outside our borders) but that differ entirely from place to place.
Here at Michiru, the only thing Texan about the $12 Texas roll is its topper of thinly sliced jalapeños. "The chef will put serrano peppers on top if you ask," our server noted. The rest of the roll is filled out with spicy tuna — perhaps in a further attempt to appeal to the Texan palate for spice — and avocado, then covered with torched salmon, yellowtail, white tuna and more of that "crunch," which I'm not sure has a proper name despite its ubiquity on sushi menus. Both rolls were huge and well worth their price.
In fact, everything at Michiru was surprisingly well-priced, given the area and the lovely setting inside, where a wall of water trickles gently down taut wire in a floor-to-ceiling wooden enclosure that separates the blue-hued bar from the rest of the mahogany-toned restaurant.
Those savory bites of uni weren't even the most expensive thing we ordered that night — they were only $12. The tuna dumplings at $14 and the Japanese snapper at $16 were the priciest, and I honestly could have finished a meal with just those two items. Along with the two rolls, the uni, and a sprightly salad of sashimi, seaweed and pickled vegetables, we completely over-ordered and were faced with a mountain of fish.
Luckily, we had all night to spend at the utterly relaxed sushi bar, eating and watching the show: me watching Oichi-san and his two chefs cleave fish quietly and with contented, relaxed concentration, my dining companion watching the NFL game on a flat-screen that hung nearly silent on one wall and polishing off a bottle of nigori sake. I couldn't have asked for a better close to a hectic weekend than this.
Restaurant NewsOpenings and Closings
It was a bit of a boring week around the city as far as either openings or closings were concerned. There was a break-in at Reef — the most recent of several — earlier this week, and a conspiracy theory worthy of Ancient Aliens popped up in our comments section regarding the motives behind the crimes. And that, friends, was the most exciting thing that happened this week.
However, if you read to the end of this week's rather short Openings and Closings article, I have a juicy blind item that should hold you ravenous beasts over for at least a few days.
As discussed a few weeks ago, Tintos closed last week and reopened immediately as PESCA: World Seafood. Meanwhile, plenty of restaurants changed their hours — specifically their lunch hours — so read on for all the titillating details.
There's also news from the Heights that Ken Bridge (of Pink's Pizza, Lola, Shepherd Park Draught House and Witchcraft Tavern & Provision Co.) is opening a new cantina concept in the old Heights Sports and Social Lounge space on White Oak at Studewood. Bridge has been referring to it as "El Camino," but that's no guarantee the name will stick around.
Kiran's is no longer open for lunch. Dinner is now served all week long starting at 5 p.m. Afternoon tea still runs on the second Saturday of each month from 3 to 5 p.m.
Aura Brasserie is now open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Cuchara is now open for lunch as well. Lunch hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.
Lastly, La Fisheria has extended its hours and is now open between lunch and dinner, serving bar bites and offering happy hour prices from 3 to 7 p.m. each day. The new bar bites menu has some old favorites like the red snapper croquettes along with new items such as Chiltepin oyster flatbread, flautas de barbacoa and tortitas (little tortas) de cochinita pibil.
On to the blind item: What longtime Montrose restaurant will soon be closing to make way for a young new owner with a vision for similar food but with a vastly more authentic and modern touch? Guess away, dear hearts. This is a good one.