LOCAL Houston | The City Guide August 2017 - Page 42

“Monday night, so many customers ordered Kobe beef, we are worried about running out before next allotment arrives.” Interior Interior by Jack Thompson have to decide: Say the magic word Omasake – the chef will just start sending out dishes. Omasake – translates to “entrusting your fate to the chef” – and why not? He knows the freshest and the best. FYI: Roka rolls old school style; one order of sushi = two pieces. The sashimi is deliriously impeccable. The fish glistens, the cuts precise, the pieces perfectly mouth-size, the array stunning. The added flourishes scream luxury: hamachi tinged with 24 karat gold leaf; Ossetra caviar dots the seasonal deluxe sashimi platter. On the menu, there is even a Premium Blue Fin Tuna flight. If you thought Toro was the ultimate, just wait until you are introduced to Chu Toro or Hon Maguro. Buttery uni (sea urchin roe), so ocean-fresh knees go weak. Bain has honed his craft to such a level of expertise that he can tell by taste and appearance the source of the uni. “I like the uni from the waters off Hokkaido – the ocean is deeper, the water is colder there – the uni is better.” Wasabi is house-grated, soy sauce housemade. And Himalayan pink salt grated tableside. (And an excellent, novel flavor enhancer.) Attention to detail, mind-boggling. Even the small, decorative, crystal clear chunk of ice on the sashimi platter receives attention. The spotted prawn sushi – amaebi – more, please. Other small dishes of wonder – bite-size rolls of paper-thin Wagyu beef wrapped around a crispy matchstick of pickled daikon with a shaving of black truffle on top. The dreamy Toro tartare topped with Ossetra caviar, a cute quail egg and useful taro chips. Should you prefer a cooked appetizer, consider the delightful, citrusy, robata-grilled diver sea scallops with Yuzu sauce accented with wasabi dust. And then…then there is beef – wondrous, delirious beef – the prized and rare, the incredibly marbled, certified Kobe beef (that can only come from select cuts of select bulls and virgin cows of the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle raised in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan). On this day – a Tuesday evening – corporate director of operations Mo Habul confides, “Monday night, so many customers ordered Kobe beef, we are worried about running out before next allotment arrives.” “We basically have to guess what our monthly needs (as regards Kobe beef) will be,” says Bain. “We can order direct from Japan but we are not importers and our importers bring in only enough to fill standing orders.” “Kobe beef is very delicate, very difficult to work with, very expensive. The fat melts at room temperature. It must be fresh,” says Bain. He almost chuckles when he adds, “We serve it as point of pride – not profit. One wrong cut (he points to a chef trimming out a magnificent loin and portioning it into steaks) too long out of the refrigerator, we lose a lot of money.” 22 LOCAL | august 17 FOOD | ARTS | COMMUNITY | STYLE+LEISURE GOOD VIBRATIONS ART YOU CAN WEAR By Tim Moloney | Photography by Max Burkhalter THERE’S A LOT BEING CREATED IN A WAREHOUSE STUDIO IN THE FOOTHILLS OF THE HEIGHTS, JUST NORTH OF I-10 ON SHEPHERD U$R^( dB%D5@U2%%TUEBDrtTDr45TDr%TDreU$EU$RUDBtBETrd%$52E$t~( btDdUrdTr%BФ5E2Du$U%2tEt$U%2BeU$EU$RU%2$DDrBUB2$T5E2B%ETDU2$U4TBDT4TdU2tBPԔtBB4TR$Tr5$TDTC4DdRTĔrd$U2FN( 26FRRbFR6''VWGBB2vfRUE$D2%%TUEB&VvgFW"W"'&V7B66W"Fv62B7V'6WVVBG&VFVBB&V6fW'FV"6&&FfP6FfRVƖrf&W2ƖRb&GV7G26VFW2FVBWfWW266'fW2w&2B6gF2v66R6V2BW"&fW"27F&R7VF( 2FVvFW"2vV2ƖRBF&VvW2&WvBF#R''VWGBB&VV6VV7FVBf"FRFW2FW6vr6rBFP6FV&''BW6WVF6VVBFRgW&GW&RRv26vrR7&VFVB7W7FGV@7W62f"FR&V6W2RBFW6vVBvVWG&6rFR7W62FRGVvW&P&VGFFrBFRFR6Rv2G&wVVB( Ē6VBbR6VBGR6Rf'&2f"R66VBRf'VW26gFFvV"FFP6rVr( 6R62( Ē&VǒvFVBFF6FRgW&GW&RBfRWFfBFBvV@vFFRvRBWrVRvVBFRF6R( 0BFWFBvVFW6VR6WFrFN( 2&VǒFffW&VB'WBW"VF7&626vVBFw2( W"&&FW26vVB( 6R62( B&ЦBWBFW&RFW( &R( fRFfRR( ( FR"FRV7G2FBvRv2vFVBFF6RFFRf&Vg&B6vRW6VBF&VvRf"FW"W7F'F7BBFVFR&V7BvVBBFV6FVBFv&FR6gFƖRvFWGVg&VBWr&v( 2BFWFF( BfRFR&ƗGF7F'B&GV7FBW2F"Bv( 2VBF"( ЦB27GVFv&BWG&BW"7F&RF'VW2W2vv&VBWr&f"V'2BvVBF'B66BR( vRfRvrrF7F6R&VF6vFF2wWR'W0FRf'&26VG2BFRFGRBFVvR6VBB&6F7WBB6WrFWG&( 2FW6v2( УrR#pcfХFR6gF26RR6R( FRvRv2F7&VFR6WFr( BfRFvV"ח6Vb( 62WG&( Ğ( fbFr6VW72B6&gV@&vW"FƖfRW2BfVV2vBFvV"B^( &RvV&rFr( ФW2''VWGBbWG&F2''VWG@C 2VwW7BpVwW7Br2C0