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Posts from — December 2008

POD: Hamachi Collar @ Azuma

I have an rather massive backlog of photographs collected over the last few years, which I have neither the time nor inclination to write a whole lot of words about. Some of them are interesting enough to see the light of day, however. Starting today I’ll  be doing a series of short posts featuring a photo of the day. Maybe one of these days I’ll catch up…

This one is from Azuma on Kirby. I prefer sushi at other places in Houston (Teppay, Sasaki, Nippon, Sushi Jin in that order), but Azuma does have an interesting looking robata menu.

The robata bar is supposed to be a major feature at Azuma, but I rarely see anyone order anything other than sushi. My past robata forays have been somewhat unsuccessful. The beef tongue was so tough I had to hide it in the napkin. The chicken gizzard and gindara seem to be perpetually unavailable. The salmon was very nicely cooked, but was totally overwhelmed with a very sweet glaze. 

But today I hit pay dirt:

IMG_8862 Yellowtail Collar (Azuma)

The hamachi collar on the robata menu may be the best thing I’ve had at Azuma so far. It’s not the best fish collar I have ever had (the one I had at Sawa Sushi literally transcends words), but it’s really good.

The meat ranged from the white flakes of fish from the section closest to the body to the darker meat with a higher fat content closest to the head.

If you are the type of person that goes for the head first when you see a whole fish, this dish is for you.

December 30, 2008   3 Comments

First taste of Textile

Even before Textile opened, I couldn’t resist driving by the Oriental Textile Mill to see the site. Houston doesn’t do preservation well, but Scott Tycer has now successfully revamped historical buildings twice – first with Gravitas and now with Textile.

I couldn’t stay long enough for the tour of the bakery, but the restaurant has a contemporary feel  similar to Gravitas and reminiscent of Bachannalia, another restaurant that occupies a converted factory in formerly industrial areas of Atlanta. Other than the striking backlit bar the small dining room is tastefully austere, though I have to admit that given the history of the building and the restaurant’s name I expected more … fabric?

As much as I like the space, I am more interested in light and the lighting at Textile is atrocious. There are restaurants that manage to dim the dining room and illuminate the food without sacrificing atmosphere (L2O in Chicago is one example), unfortunately Textile is one of the places that insists on hiding their food in the dark. It’s really too bad, because the kitchen does a nice job of plating, especially with desserts, which often get the ho-hum treatment in restaurants. [Read more →]

December 19, 2008   9 Comments