LOCAL Houston | The City Guide August 2017 - Page 20

FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE DINE WRITE DELIRIOUSLY IMPECCABLE Roka Akor Has Arrived By Janice Schindeler | Photography by Neil Burger “We can get fresh fish flown in from the Tokyo market, flash freeze it to minus 80 celsius in a matter of minutes, bring it back to temperature and serve it the next day,” says CE BAIN , the corporate chef, in town to get the staff off to a proper Roka Akor start. (According to city health codes, all fish served raw must be subjected to a deep freezing process to kill off parasites. The cryogenic equipment leaves the cellular structure of the fish intact, making the sashimi and sushi impeccably delicious, with an ocean-fresh integrity of texture.) Except for a small fish prep kitchen (where the whole fish are turned into loins and the cryogenic freezer lives), the entire, pristine kitchen is on display – the fry station, the dessert area, the sushi counter and then the hearth of it all, the robata grill glowing orange heat from the intense coals of compressed white oak charcoal. A cryogenic freezer and one big, bad, four-tier robata grill. Roka Akor – wow. A self-described sushi, seafood and steak house (best sushi restaurant in US by Travel + Leisure magazine), it is challenging to decide what to order. You don’t Prime Ribeye Steak We can get fresh fish flown in from the Tokyo market, flash freeze it to minus 80 celsius in a matter of minutes, bring it back to temperature and serve it the next day. 5.30.2017 3:41pm Dynamite Scallop Maki For what feels like an eternity, I have been driving past 2929 Weslayan – anticipating the momentary opening of ROKA AKOR. For so long. Seriously, even the vinyl “opening soon” sign faded from exposure. So anxious, I am here on the second night of business. And so are all the Roka Akor heavies – corporate chef, executive sushi chefs, regional and national managers. orange coals of the robata grill. But the glow grows as the sun sets and these fire-colored lights hint at the attention to detail one will encounter throughout the evening. It is a bright and sunny six o’clock and the blond wood dining room and bar are vibrant with chatty customers. So sun-bright that the daylight blows out the subtlety of the back-lit wine cellar designed to glow like the Honoring tradition while employing futuristic equipment, this Michelin Guide-recommended restaurant group, based out of Scottsdale, pole vaults over the current bar of excellence in Houston. Hamachi Serrano Maki 20 L O C A L | august 17 august 17 | L O C A L 21