Another table-turning restaurant is making Montrose its home: Say sayonara, Tomo and irashaimase to its new incarnation, Nabi. The Asian fusion restaurant is taking over the sushi joint, which had been a fixture on Lower Westheimer since 2007. Prior to Tomo, the building at 1517 Westheimer was the location of Yan Sushi, and Tomo never quite lived up to its predecessor's popularity.
Nabi hopes to recapture some of Yan's former fans, but not with sushi (after all, competing with the incoming Uchi would be foolish). Instead, the restaurant will focus on an Asian fusion menu that runs the gamut from whole roasted pig to Korean-style fried chicken, all under the guidance of executive chef Ji Kang.
"My team at NABI is excited to bring a new genre of food to Montrose," Kang said in a press release. Kang is best known for his work as chef de cuisine at DISH in Dallas, which received three stars from the Dallas Morning News's Leslie Brenner last year. Kang also won second place at this year's Rising Star Chefs' Contest in Dallas, before promptly departing to begin work on Nabi here in Houston.
Kang claims that the food served at Nabi will be "made-from-scratch" and appeal to a wide variety of palates -- even vegetarian palates -- while remaining affordable: "People will appreciate that they can come a few times a week and enjoy great dishes, all without having to break their budget," he said.
The menu heralds the arrival of "Asian comfort foods" in an area that's widely bereft of such things, Chinese food at Kam's aside. If it's good, Nabi's Korean-style fried chicken would mean no more long drives to H-Mart for Toreore or to A Ly for Peking duck buns. Even better, Nabi will serve those dishes deep into the night, too, giving the area another much-needed late-night dining option. Sunday Fundays will be given a twist here, too, with all-you-can-eat fried chicken and tempura for $16.
The public is invited to Nabi's grand opening party on Saturday, November 19, from 7 to 11 p.m. Free appetizers such as cauliflower fritters and some of those Peking duck buns will be on hand, as will that whole roasted pig. Cocktails will be served for $5 each, and DJ Chris Cardenas will be in from Dallas to wish Chef Kang luck here in his new home.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.