MF Sushi packs its counter for good reason.
The new Nobu Houston brings a celebrity beloved rep. (Photo by Peter Molick.)
Golden Eye Snapper (Kinmedai), Uni, Salmon Roe, Unagi (freshwater eel) (Photo by Julie Soefer.)
Tobiu Sushi and Bar is already gaining major praise on the Houston restaurant scene. (Photo by Dragana Harris.)
Uchi Houston's akami sushi shows its power. (Photo by Logan Crable.)
KUU's nigiri shows its versatility. (Photo by Kimberly Park.)
Aka Sushi House
Teppay Japanese Restaurant shouldn't be slept on in Houston.
Of all the restaurant genres, the delicate and subjective topic of best sushi evinces more heated debate than most. With so many options across Houston, including out-of-town chains like Roka Akor and Nobu recently popping up on the local scene, there’s room for differences of opinion.
The guide below provides an overview to 11 of our current favorite destinations for a sushi fix, from no-nonsense eateries to fine-dining restaurants. These are the best sushi restaurants in Houston:
The Japanese restaurant empire by chef Nobu Matsuhisa and award-winning actor Robert De Niro has finally hits Houston. The 39th location of Nobu, tucked inside The Galleria’s new luxury wing, opened in early June.
If you can land a reservation, the luxe experience is the stuff that inspires song lyrics: Both Drake (“Jumpman”) and Kanye West (“See Me Now”) have crooned about the high-end sushi palace.
Count on an uber-chic crowd and attentive staff serving up beautifully-presented high caliber sushi and hot dishes in a sleek setting. It’s exactly the type of place you’d expect to run into a superstar singing sensation.
Signature dishes range from the trend-setting miso black cod to yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, while inventive takes include whole king crab leg with black truffle panko crust, lobster shiitake salad with spicy lemon dressing, and the Sakura Smoking Pot with cherry blossom-smoked Wagyu and honey yakitori (chicken).
At MF Sushi in the Museum District, chef Chris Kinjo cranks out raw marvels, using fish flown in regularly from Japan, with elegant movements and superior knife skills.
The o-toro (fatty tuna) nigiri, hamachi kama (grilled yellowtail collar), baked lobster tempura and the A5 Wagyu roll with asparagus, onions, shredded chili, and miso tare are all standouts, but part of what makes this high-design spot so special is the omakase (chef’s selection) tasting menu.
Reserve a seat at the bar to enjoy a bird’s-eye view of all the action, then sit back and relax while you leave it to the experts to plan your meal. Although pricey at $125 per person, it’s worth the splurge.
Kata Robata Sushi + Grill
Trust is what you want when you dive into the world of eating raw fish. And in Manabu Horiuchi at Upper Kirby’s Kata Robata, Houstonians trust. The acclaimed chef is not only James Beard-nominated, but also part of an exclusive list of U.S. chefs who are certified to handle blowfish (which is poisonous if not prepared correctly).
The bustling modern restaurant, with fish flown in directly from Japan multiple times a week, has attracted the likes of celebrity chef Jose Andres and Houston Texans star J.J. Watt thanks to exceptionally made nigiri, sashimi and rolls, served alongside hot dishes like oxtail ramen and grilled meats cooked on the restaurant’s namesake robata.
Book a seat at the sushi counter for the omakase tasting menu ($135 to $150 per person) and be wowed by the chef-selected options. Past examples include soft shell crab tempura, o-toro, chutoro sashimi, and live spot prawn sashimi. Go now, and be treated to coveted Japanese strawberries, currently on the roster.
Tobiuo Sushi & Bar
23501 Cinco Ranch
Recently opened Tobiuo at La Centerra in Cinco Ranch is already receiving high praise from local sushi connoisseurs and food critics alike. Executive chef Mike Lim — who worked at Napa’s Morimoto and San Francisco’s Roka Akor in the past — rolls out well executed top-tier seafood.
Setting Tobiuo apart from the pack are several unique offerings: Flame-seared foie gras ($18) is served tableside, a flight of uni nigiri ($26 per person) comes with three pieces of sea urchin sourced from around the globe, and the Blue Fin Experience ($34 per person) is served with three different cuts of bluefin tuna: hon maguro, chutoro, and o-toro lavishly garnished with edible 24-karat gold leaf.
Make time for three-hour tasting with the Fish Box (starting at $85 per person). Chef Lim opens the box to reveal surprise items flown in from Japan’s Tsukiji Market. Each is explained before being prepared in impromptu dishes.
947 North Gessner
Nobu-trained chef Adison Lee presides over this glossy restaurant at the Gateway Memorial City development with artfully-plated dishes. Serenely fresh nigiri and sashimi selections feature fresh fish flown in regularly.
Dig into must-try cooked items like salt-grilled mackerel with Brussels sprouts, seared sea scallop with a 60-degree egg, enoki mushrooms, house-cured bacon, and okra, and decadent uni-crusted king crab with uni custard and key lime.
Solid sushi offerings are a sure bet at casually chic lower Westheimer restaurant Uchi, the famed Austin import. But you’ll also want to try the daily specials (think pork ribs with house fish sauce, Thai chili and green papaya) and cooked dishes here.
The playfully interactive hamachi nabe is served tableside. The walu walu comes with oak-grilled escolar, candied citrus, yuzupon and Japanese ginger.
At Izakaya Wa, you get precisely sliced sushi and sashimi, plus well-prepared rice dishes and noodle soups, and Japanese tapas made with grilled and fried meats and vegetables. Lunch specials at the hidden Memorial-area gem include the half-and-half. Half rice and half noodle soup, the dish provides a taste of Japan, where the combination is commonly served.
Soma Sushi, from the folks behind Kata Robata, offers a modern take on classic Japanese dishes. Located along the Washington Avenue Corridor, the restaurant’s lengthy roster of fish includes several exotic finds. The Crazy Irish-Man signature roll with salmon, tuna, avocado and aioli, is a crowd pleaser and so is the slurp-worthy Spicy Miso Ramen with pork belly.
Teppay Japanese Restaurant
The extensive menu of superb nigiri and sashimi brings loyal fans back time and again to this intimate Houston sushi restaurant on Westheimer near Voss. Adding to the allure are palate-pleasing dishes like cold cha soba (buckwheat) noodles infused with green tea, crispy pork katsu and Agedashi fried tofu, along with reasonable prices.
Aka Sushi House
2390 West Alabama
This unpretentious restaurant near Upper Kirby, from Mike Tran who also owns Tiger Den and Mein, draws a regular crowd thanks to quality sushi and dishes that aren’t bank busting. The relatively affordable menu includes the Sashimi Deluxe with 21 pieces of sashimi for $45 and a sushi lunchtime special with three kinds of nigiri and a spicy tuna roll for $9.75. For something heartier, go for the tonkotsu ramen with roasted pork ($9.75).
Where you really score big is during happy hour. Save on drinks, small bites, sushi rolls and more weekdays from 3 to 7 pm, and again from 9 pm to close. The deal is also available on the weekends, all day long.
At upscale sushi and Japanese robata steakhouse chain Roka Akor, the beef side of the menu features five Wagyu varieties (four Japanese and one domestic), while the sushi side includes impressive sashimi platters. Slices of sashimi, a mix of domestic and global fish with a large selection flown in daily from Japan, arrive on a bed of crushed ice.
Get the best of both worlds with the omakase, available with a two-person minimum for $128 per person, giving you a little of everything including sushi, sashimi and steak.