Feb 17, 2011 0
Kata Robata has developed an inventive Japanese tapas & sushi menu, with stunning presentation. The kitchen caliber is fierce, possessing massive culinary creativeness. The menu offers a “Chef’s Tasting,” leaving your fate in the hands of these divine miracle workers.
Though Houston may have a plethora of sushi joints, Kata Robata’s excellence demands to stand alone. From the texture… to the flavor… and back to the prevailing presentation, this building embodies the highest level of sushiness possible. In the humblest of all humble opinions, Kata Robata is easily one of the best Japanese restaurants in Houston.
Through his mother’s work as a chef in Japan, executive chef Manabu Horiuchi’s ache for chefness ultimately arrived. After achieving epic culinary skills from the prestigious Tsuji Culinary Institute, located in Osaka, Japan, chef Hori-san began his journey toward superstar chef status.
Presently slapping sushi around with chef Hori-san is Seth Siegel-Gardner. His list of accomplishments is painfully exciting, beginning with massive sleeve tattoos engulfing both arms. An equally exciting endeavor is Seth’s stint working as executive sous chef for Gordon Ramsey, at Maze, in New York City. He also worked with culinary great, Marcus Samuelsson, at Aquavit.
Um, uncontrollable spastic hyperness suddenly erupted when Seth stopped in front of the sushi bar and… spoke. Seth explained that, initially, the plan was to stay at Kata Robata for six months. After signing on to temporarily help out, Seth now has no immediate plans to leave. He and Hori-san work incredibly well together, giving sushi lovers a haven for happiness.
Chefs Hori-san & Seth were both recently recognized as 2011 Houston Rising Stars, from Star Chefs, the magazine for culinary insiders. A gala will be held March 17th at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Houston.
An above average moment of elation occurred upon realizing Joshua Martinez is… the manager. We previously crossed paths during my tasting at Soma Sushi, with executive chef Jason Hauck. Joshua was the manager of Soma at that time, and currently maintains champion manager status. Please & Thanks.
While dropping in to get a sneak peek of executive chef Hori-san, the Caribbean roll did not disappoint. Fried lobster tail & spicy tuna are rolled tightly with mango, avocado, unagi sauce & tobiko. The “Signature Roll” section of the menu also includes a sexy scallop roll with chopped scallop, tempura crunch, avocado, kanikama & tobiko.
After returning the next day, the full chef’s tasting experience began with a plate full of joy… King crab wrapped with Japanese snapper, accompanied by wasabi leaves, cumquats & roasted corn. This item is then sprinkled with togarashi powder, which is comparable to an accumulation of Japanese seasonings.
Served with green & red onion, tuna tar tar is mixed in a Japanese dressing & served with strawberries & renkon chips. Also, sashimi with sea salt & black pepper. Another creation on my to-do list at Kata is the Uni & King Crab Spoons. The king crab, sea urchin, black caviar & kaiware are served with vinaigrette sauce.
Executive chef Hori-san is responsible for developing the unlimited array of amazingness found on the menu. The sushi/sashimi section will send your heart into a flutter of unstoppable harmony. Choices overflow with freshness & endless variety. From mackerel with kombu to Japanese fish, you will have no alternative other than to reach across the sushi bar & bear hug this chef. Total Sushi Sinfulness.
Frozen uni powder, celery & borage flowers, surround otoro tuna, with a toasted nori yogurt, nestled snug as a bug beneath. Jaw dropping presentation & freshness are incredibly powerful at Kata Robata. From basic dishes to extremely complex, the chefs transform simple ingredients into art.
Kata Robata’s menu is divided into sections for sushi & sashimi, by the piece, with choices from all ends of the spectrum. The next section highlights Japanese fish, which is also served… by the piece. Carnivores rejoice… foie gras and akaushi beef maintain menu status at Kata as well.
Binchotan Hamachi is plated with a grapefruit & yuzu purée, with shitaki mushroom powder, maitake mushrooms, along with yamagobo, grapefruit crumbles & parsley oil. Located in the “Hot” section of the menu, a particularly perfect choice is the lobster macaroni & cheese, prepared with lobster, parmesan cheese, Houston dairy maids marieke gouda & Veldhuizen cheddar, panko & miso paste.
Nasturtium cake is fiercely phenomenal… including watercress leaves, diced Texas strawberries with dehydrated strawberries, as well as sweet yogurt & meringue that has been torched. Completing this captivating creation is chamomile flower & chamomile syrup.
Liquid nitrogen enlightenment approached the sushi bar, as this no nonsense manager came to my fearless foodie aid. He explained, the chefs like experimenting… making different cakes, powders, and such. Currently, the chefs are playing around with… liquid nitrogen. This information could potentially cause hardcore foodies to contact excitement therapists for couch counseling.
Kata Robata has acquired a large nitrogen tank which calls the kitchen home. Of course, they had to work through some loopholes to get this thunderous tank of pleasure. The manager stated, after pledging not to freeze their arms off, it all worked out in the end.
In preparation of this dessert, the chocolate mousse is irrigated, vaccuum sealed, and then frozen, which produces a light fluffy texture. As the hazelnut shaved ice, meringue, and raspberry crumbles hit your tongue, it feels like this tantalizing dessert is vaporizing in your mouth.
More and more restaurants, like Kata Robata and Bootsie’s Heritage Café, provide chefs with unlimited creative freedom. Giving chefs the opportunity to explore the core of their inner talent has resulted in new restaurants rising to the top. The concept of chef freedom is so intense & exciting, it’s nonsense to settle for the insatiable norm.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch
Please & Thank You… to Adam Richard, president of Noble Imaging, for the fluffy cloud picture of Kata Robata.