John Chen, owner of the new JJ Ichiban Steak & Sushi (5700 Highway 6 North, 281-550-6688), says the name of his new restaurant is a hybrid. “My name is John Chen and my sister’s name is Jing, and that’s how we called it JJ. As for ichiban, in Japanese, it means ‘first’ or No 1.’…It’s half American and half Japanese.” That goes for the restaurant concept too. “It is an American steakhouse similar to Outback Steakhouse,and then we have sushi, sashimi and bento boxes. We offer a free salad bar with each entrée.”
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Chen had only recently opened when Ike tore through. “Before the storm, everything was going great, but after we lost power for six days, business has been a little slow, so we hope everything gets back to normal quickly,” says Chen. When we visited the place, it was apparent that John was right: Business was slow. But that meant that the wait staff was able to devote their full attention to the three tables that were occupied. And since JJ Ichiban didn’t have a liquor license yet, patrons got free beer and wine. A sampling of both the American and Japanese cuisine found their 12-ounce New York strip cooked to the desired rare and the sushi combo plate a bargain at $9.99 for eight piece. -- Paul Galvani