What has 30 tons of decorative red rope, $70,000 worth of ornamental wood, local artisan wall paintings, and exquisite Japanese food? No, it’s not the Art Museum. It’s the seductive and sleek new restaurant located in mid-town Houston:
As we entered, we strolled past a linear waterfall that provided an artful and calming effect. Then, walking inside, we were captivated by the exceptional style and spaciousness. At the center of the large main room, is a long sushi bar with tables and booths around the periphery. Working behind the bar is a group of white Toqued sushi chefs, artistically slicing fresh fish as perfectly as experienced Beverly Hills plastic surgeons! At the far end of the sushi bar is the robata grill where diners can watch their food being cooked.
To the left of the main room behind those thick red ropes, which have been hung and twisted into a stunning and elaborate curtain, is the bar area.
Other side rooms, equally imposing, contain huge, original portraiture's of a samurai warrior and princess. We knew these were original when the artist arrived and began working on one.
Every element in the design of this restaurant has been carefully thought out and executed to the finest detail. The owner, Patrick Chiu, has made it a delightful showplace – for his customers’ eyes and palates alike.
More important than the beautiful decor, is the food. To ensure his kitchen excels, Chiu has brought in head Chef, Taka Sekiguchi.
Our first dish was a recommendation from the women at the booth next to us. They simply insisted that we order the Kobe Sliders. Although we wouldn’t usually order burgers at a Japanese restaurant, we took the leap and went with it.
The Kobe patties were ultra-juicy and tender, served with grilled onions and 3 sauces with a unique and delicious garnish of fried burdock root on top. An excellent dish – definitely worthy of a recommendation!
Next we went with the Popcorn Crabs with 7 Spice Dry Rub and Lime. These were tiny crabs deep fried in their shell. We devoured every crunchy little morsel of these flavorful goodies.
Next came our favorite dish of all – Grilled Pork Cheek with Apple Compote and Caramelized Walnuts If it sounds good, multiply by 100 and that’s how delicious it tasted. Simply stated: OMG, to die for!
Then, at our waiter Van’s suggestion, we had another seemingly simple, but ultimately complex fish dish, Usuzukuri. Comprised solely of thinly sliced flounder with lime and white soy sauce, it was smooth and refreshing, a perfect ending for the meal. So we thought.
Chef Taka asked, "How we could be at a sushi restaurant and not eat sushi?" So instead of trying a traditional dessert, we finished with a combo of fresh water and salt water eel drizzled with plum sauce for sweetness. Almost as good as dessert!
The dining sensation at Sushi Raku is not just about fine food, but the “one-ness” felt in the carefully cultured ambiance Patrick Chiu has created. To feel good about almost everything in a restaurant these days is rare, and we stayed to enjoy it as long as we could.
Located on the ground floor of a mid-town high-rise, below 24-Hour-Fitness, it’s the ideal place to visit, whether after a workout, after work or just about any other time. So next time you’re hungry in Houston, visit Sushi Raku for a gastronomic experience that will have you wanting to return for more. Maybe we’ll see you the next time we’re in town!
3201 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77006