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If you are a sushi lover, you already know most of the Japanese restaurants we know are located in midtown areas in Houston. However, this one is located in LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch. I think it's a good location for residents who live in the Katy area since they don't have to drive far out anymore. Prior to my visit, I've read and heard great things about Tobiuo Sushi & Bar and I was excited to try their omakase.
Entering the place, I was pleasantly greeted by three staffs and they were all welcoming. Chloe was our server and she had a bubbly personality. She was friendly and also on point by giving us warm towels to clean hands between courses, filling up water, and changing out beverage napkins.
All our dishes were prepared by Chef Mike Lim. He is from Busan, South Korea, and grew up with parents who are chefs as well. With 17 years of industry experience, he is a passionate culinary expert and we had an unforgettable time watching him prepare each and one of the fish during our omakase. To learn more about the chef, please click here.
Omakase means in Japanese, "I'll leave it up to you." You are trusting what the chef will make for you.
Omakase menu changes every time because it's a surprise even for chefs when receiving fish boxes from Japan. Then, chefs need to work and prepare them without knowing what is coming in the fish box. To keep its freshness and tenderness, they only use it within 2 days period. So, if you are looking for this personalized experience, I suggest you make reservations 72 hours prior to the day to give them time to order to box and prepare.
With that said, let's get right into the day at Tobiuo Sushi & Bar on a Wednesday night around 6:30 pm. The whole experience will last about 2 1/2 hours and you will enjoy every minute of it. Below is my omakase course menu, which was $125 per person. It's 12-courses (fish), galbi, and dessert to finish off.
Pro Tips: Eat it with your hands (fingers) instead of chopsticks. If you pick them up with your chopsticks, sometimes the rice might fall into pieces. That's because the rice is super soft. It's preferred to eat them in one bite to enjoy the perfect harmony of the fish, soy sauce, rice, and wasabi. Use the ginger as a palate cleanser between courses.
This is the Hon Maguro Crudo. It's the Japanese term for bluefin tuna. It is mixed with pesto, oil, ginger, and few other that really added the taste. It literally melted in my mouth. Could we also take a look at this customize-made bowl which is imported from another state? So beautiful.
Shihoko, the baby amberjack.
Isaki, the three-line grunt. Can you see how fresh and juicy it looks? The perfection is real.
I loved this one so much, the flavor was so rich.
Foie Gras. The taste was pretty strong and it was very tender and went along with the blueberry and other sauces.
**This was actually my first time trying this dish and I was a bit hesitant. Just because I've heard stories regarding the way they produce foie gras...how they forcefully fatten the liver of a duck/goose.
Itoyori, the threadfin bream. I think this is going to be my top favorite one. As soon as I tried this, I said, "I know what to order next time". Look at how fresh the fish looks. I've never chewed fish this slow in my life; just because I didn't want to swallow it and wanted the taste to remain in my mouth.
I love mackerels, and I normally get the Spanish mackerel which is white and a bit of greyish color at the tail part. This (saba), on the other hand, was way more savory, fresh, tender, and the taste was on another level. If you see it closely, he prepared three mackerels on top of it which made it so much better. My mouth was full.
Umazura, the filefish
This is the pea shoot scallop. If you see if closely on the bottom, you will see the green which is the pea shoot made with peas. This scallop was so soft and juicy. I had my first big bite and couldn't be happier. It was pretty big and it literally melted in my mouth.
Kanpachi, the amberjack. I loved how beautiful the presentation of this fish looked. It was delicious and didn't disappoint.
Probably my another top favorite, the Chu-toro with 24k gold on top. I've seen 24k gold flakes on different nigiri or edible ones but have never tried it. What a surprise! I love tuna so this was so exciting for me and its tenderness and thickness made it even better.
Santa Barbara Uni Sea (Sea Urchin). I've never tried this before just because it didn't really look appetizing for me. I also am allergic to salmon. If you haven't tried it, you totally should, just because everyone's taste buds are different. For me, I tried the one without salmon and it was okay.
Well, if you tried bbq before, you probably will know how the galbi (short rib) tastes like. This one however was unique and one-of-a-kind because the sauce was actually made from fruits which added up the juicy flavor. It was really yummy and the broccoli/cauliflower went perfectly with galbi. And at this stage, we were already full and ready for the dessert!
Never had such an awesome dessert platter that only had my favorites. It was another pleasant surprise to end our course with. Let's just compliment on how pretty this looks with the colors, presentation, and design. The rose and lavender (or maybe blueberry) macarons were chewy. I was surprised by the mixed taste of the vanilla ice cream and chocolate cake (tasted like Nutella and a good amount of syrup). Green tea matcha ice cream was the deep & genuine green tea taste, not the fake one. Fruits, of course, blended in. We also got to try lychee ice cream (not in the photo) which is unique. I've seen lychee jelly which is common in bubble tea shops but not lychee ice cream. If you ever want to taste it, you need to come to Tobiuo Sushi & Bar for it. Promise, it will be worth it!
I cannot forget some of these tastes in my mouth! This omakase experience I got while chatting with Chef Mike Lim, asking questions and learning about fish was so fun! You will spot the different in the quality of the fish as well. Have you noticed the plants and flowers? He actually grows them in his house.
I certainly recommend this to anyone who wants to brighten their day up with pleasant surprises because it will not disappoint. Plus, if you live in Katy area, it's a plus for you guys without having to drive through traffic to midtown. Some might say, it's too expensive for few pieces of fish. But I think it's worth it since it's unique and you get to see chef's creativity and art throughout. Some other of my recommendations for omakase & sushi restaurant in Houston would be, MF Sushi, Kuu, Rata Kobata, and Roka Akor. Click here for more Asian restaurants in Houston.
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