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Michiru Sushi Does "Crazy" in a Delicious Way

The chefs have a little fun with everything they put out.

They're satisfying, sure, in the way that a familiar California roll can be satisfying, but none of the rolls made me sit back, close my eyes and sigh in contentment. My dining companions described the Spicy Girl and Michiru rolls as mushy, even though the Michiru contains tempura and the Spicy Girl involves "crunch," which I believe is simply bits of fried tempura batter. The Triton roll, an off-menu special that is often available, consists of avocado, spicy kampachi (yellowtail) and blue marlin wrapped in rice, then topped with thin slivers of jalapeño and scallops. It was a definite improvement on the other rolls I tasted at Michiru, thanks in large part to the divine (and difficult to come by) blue marlin, but it was still lacking the complexity I crave from carefully devised sushi.

Finally, on one visit, I arrived at the Red Dragon roll. Admittedly, I ordered it because I had seen photos of it online, and I wanted a cute little sushi dragon of my own to gobble up. I've heard that the chef who opened Michiru and invented the roll is no longer at the restaurant, but whoever has taken over appears to have maintained the integrity of the dish, which is arranged with carefully sliced lemon and radish garnishes to resemble a traditional Chinese dragon (the lemon being the head and the roll the twisting body). The inside of the roll contains spicy tuna and that ubiquitous crunch, while the outside is draped in thin avocado slices, peppered tuna, a generous sprinkling of crunch and a smattering of scarlet-red tobiko (flying fish roe).

Of all the rolls I tried, this one was both the most adorable (it's a freaking dragon!) and the most balanced and interesting, and I found myself surprised and enchanted by the crunch of the tempura, the peppery spice of the tuna, the pop of the salty tobiko and the smooth finish of the ripe green avocado.

The Red Dragon roll is as delicious as it is beautiful.
Troy Fields
The Red Dragon roll is as delicious as it is beautiful.

Location Info

Map

Michiru Sushi

3800 SW Freeway, 104
Houston, TX 77027

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Greenway Plaza

Details

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Spring roll: $3
Tuna dumpling: $14
Ocean Nest: $12
Miso soup: $2
California roll: $5
Michiru roll: $12
Red Dragon roll: $13
Spicy Girl roll: $13
Triton roll: $13 (special prices may change)
Lunch bento box: $10-$14



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It's clear the ingredients in every roll are of the highest quality, but with the exception of several outstanding dishes — especially the Spicy Tuna Tartare and the Rainbow Salad of fresh-as-can-be sashimi with seaweed and spicy sauce in a bowl made of ice — something gets lost in translation between the whole fresh fish and the sushi that ends up on the plate. Fortunately, for me at least, Michiru more than makes up for a few disappointing rolls with the inventive plating, exquisite appetizers and servers so eager to please that they'll bring out creatures that aren't even on the menu.

It's almost too easy to order too much food at most Japanese restaurants, where roll after roll of sushi appears easily vanquished until, suddenly, you realize you cannot eat another bite. Michiru is no different. In fact, it might be even easier to order far too much at Michiru, because the prices are so fair and the sheer array of seafood makes you throw caution and calories to the wind in favor of trying everything.

Even the smaller lunchtime portions, such as the traditional bento box (about the size of a Styrofoam to-go container when ordered in Asia, but here as large as a cafeteria tray), could feed more than one person for an absurdly small amount of money. If you're looking for a seafood smorgasbord in which every dish is Instagram-worthy, Michiru is most definitely the place for you.

'I've had better sushi, but damn," my dining companion announced on the drive home after one evening meal. "That was a lot of crazy food."

My friend was right: Michiru does make crazy food, and a lot of it. Rather than attracting diners with perfectly prepared sashimi that allows the fish to speak for itself, the chefs have a little fun with everything they put out. I can imagine them, hidden away in the kitchen or connecting with the crowd from behind the sushi bar, knives in hand, mental wheels turning, dreaming up new ways to paint with sauce or sculpt with fish for the nightly spectacle that is dinner.

Michiru is certainly no Uchi, and it's no Kata Robata, and though it might do until MF Sushi reopens (God willing), it's no MF, either. Still, I'm bound to choose Michiru over most other sushi places in town because I know it's such a good value and because I love that it's doing its own funky thing with artistic sushi rolls, even if they don't always live up to expectations. And though some items can be hit or miss, I know the quality of ingredients and imagination behind every dish will never cease to tickle me just as pink as those phenomenal little tuna dumplings.

kaitlin.steinberg@houstonpress.com

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4 comments
nedtb51
nedtb51

Great find, I applaud. Michiru is many heads above the mediocrity of sushi chains like Azuma and Miyako, the servers actually know about food, and the prices are super-reasonable!

Sploge
Sploge

Are these the same folks who run Michiru in Webster? 

FileneSw8
FileneSw8

Michiru is amazing, I completely agree with you. I owe Carl Rosa a debt of gratitude for turning us onto Michiru. Carl is the founder of Houston Sushi Club and has crisscrossed Japan eating some of the best....he highly recommended Michiru, and I haven't looked back since trying it the first time.



metternich
metternich

I''m so glad you reviewed Michiru, they deserve some great press and pretty much got it here!! I learned of Michiru from Carl Rosa, who founded and runs the Sushi Club of Houston. He's eaten sushi all over Japan and the states and he was raving about Michiru. I think he even rated them higher than MF in some areas. 

I haven't had those lovely rolls you pictured, but the Nigiri sushi is outstanding and a great value for the variety, rare exotic stuff, and quantity that you get. 

Thanks for the reminder about how good Michiru is!

 
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