Random Ephemera

Dive Into Houston Sushi

Raw fish party.
Raw fish party. Photo by Phaedra Cook
It's that special time again, time for us to round up some of our previous top coverage. This weekend we're focusing on a very hot to pic — sushi. Here are some of our best sushi articles from the recent past, including a couple of big openings that just hit Houston this summer. Have at it.

Unusually small nigiri at Ka Sushi. - PHOTO BY PHAEDRA COOK
Unusually small nigiri at Ka Sushi.
Photo by Phaedra Cook
10 Ways to Evaluate Sushi Like a Boss; Busting Myths With Expert Tips

While I was on my review visits at KA Sushi, I had a little nagging voice in the back of my head. “Aren’t those pieces kind of small?” I temporarily shooed it away, chalking up my expectations for larger pieces to an American — and, most especially, Texan — habituation to larger portion sizes. Everything is bigger in Texas, right?

I wanted a second opinion, and for that I tapped my friend Carl Rosa, founder of the Sushi Club of Houston. Rosa travels to Japan eight times a year and has dined at some of the most renowned sushi restaurants in the world.

Kukuri just opened at 1902 Washington. - PHOTO BY GWENDOLYN KNAPP
Kukuri just opened at 1902 Washington.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
Did a Michelin-Starred Chef Just Open a Sushi Restaurant on Washington?

Did a Michelin-starred chef just open a sushi restaurant on Washington?

Well, kind of. Shimao Ishikawa, a sushi chef who made a name for himself at Manhattan's Michelin-starred sushi bar Jewel Bako, has reportedly brought a new Japanese restaurant, Kukuri, to 1902 Washington. It's in the same development as Tacodeli and Platypus Brewing, and it opens this evening, August 11, according to Eater Houston.

A Bluefin tuna flight at Roka Akor, now open at Weslayan and West Alabama. - PHOTO BY MAI PHAM
A Bluefin tuna flight at Roka Akor, now open at Weslayan and West Alabama.
Photo by Mai Pham
Preview: Roka-Akor, a Nationally Acclaimed Sushi and Robata Steakhouse, Just Opened in Houston

It’s been a banner year for the Houston restaurant scene, and it’s not stopping anytime soon. Just when we thought that we’d seen it all, a new restaurant comes along that’s ready to take Houston by storm. Roka Akor, which opens to the public today, June 26, is definitely up to the challenge.

A high-end sushi and Japanese robata steakhouse with locations in San Francisco, Scottsdale and Chicago, Roka Akor has been named one of the Top 10 Sushi Spots in the country by Bon Appétit magazine and one of the Best Sushi Restaurants in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Amaebi uni sushi. - PHOTO BY MAI PHAM
Amaebi uni sushi.
Photo by Mai Pham
An Omakase Dinner at Kata Robata

There are times when you go to a sushi restaurant knowing exactly what you want to order. You dutifully fill out the sushi menu with two orders of hotate (scallop), maguro (tuna), hamachi (yellowtail) and whatever catches your fancy. Maybe you’re a roll person, and your go-to thing is the spicy tuna roll. Maybe you prefer forgoing the rice completely for a dinner of sashimi. Ordering à la carte is a good way to eat sushi if you want to maintain control. It’s safe, easy, predictable and good for a quick bite.

When you want to have an incredible sushi experience, however, make a reservation for an omakase, which is essentially a chef’s tasting menu of the day’s best items. This is what I do whenever I want to treat myself to a mind-blowing meal, and my go-to spot — the place I found myself on a recent Tuesday evening as I celebrated a belated birthday dinner — was the sushi bar at Kata Robata.

Pregnant and willing. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CARL ROSA
Pregnant and willing.
Photo courtesy of Carl Rosa

Attention Pregnant Women: You CAN Eat Sushi

As we all know, pregnant women typically abstain from certain foods throughout their pregnancy — specifically, foods that could harm a growing fetus. Many types of fish, for example, have high levels of mercury — which can cause a liver infection in a pregnant woman — while others foods, such as soft cheeses, have long been on the "avoid" list but are actually quite safe.

Pregnant women are especially advised not to consume raw fish, because of the parasites that are naturally present in the fish and that could potentially cause a parasitic infection.

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.