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The 5 Best Japanese Restaurants in Houston — Westheimer

The 5 Best Japanese Restaurants in Houston — Westheimer

Our Criteria: 

Sushi: Only the freshest, most premium seafood are used for real sushi. We looked at the color and the odor of the fish  in the different sushi we tried. 
Food Presentation: Authentic Japanese dining establishments practice the art of minimalism. Because of this, we took into consideration that most authentic meals are served in bite-sized portions and are classy in presentation. 
Menu: Authentic Japanese dining establishments usually offer only a small selection of meals, focusing instead on the chef’s signature creations. 
Service: Courtesy is highly valued in Japanese society. So we took into consideration the service we received whether it was quick, appropriate, and friendly. 

1. Osaka – Westheimer

Website: Osaka – Westheimer

Address: 500 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006, United States

Contact Info: +1 713-533-9098

Hours: Monday to Sunday: 11:00 AM to 10:30 PM

Google Reviews Score4.4/5
Yelp Reviews Score4/5
Facebook Reviews Score4.6/5
Total Reviews4.5/5
Score Consistency4.5/5
Sushi 4.5/5
Food Presentation5/5
Menu 4.5/5
Service4/5

Pros

  • Lightly spiced tuna roll 
  • Delicious usumashi soup 
  • Authentic yakisoba 
  • Refreshing green tea ice cream 

Cons

  • Slow service
  • Long waits

According to the comments of many we spoke with, Osaka’s stunning interior design, delicious drinks, and meals set this restaurant apart from others in the local area. 

While the atmosphere at Osaka is relaxing and the decor lives up to the comments of others, we most liked the quality and the presentation of the meals we had at Osaka. 

We didn’t like the slow service and the long wait to be seated at a table—yes, we had a reservation already booked in advance. 

Despite this, we liked how Osaka’s menu highlighted classic sushi rolls, alcoholic drinks, and traditional Japanese desserts. The prices of everything we ordered off the menu were budget-friendly. 

We liked how Osaka presented customers with a free appetizer of edamame. 

The edamame had the perfect amount of salt and was cooked to perfection. 

To start our main courses, we ordered some yakisoba, ramen, usumashi soup, a salmon roll, and a spicy tuna roll. By the way, the chef provided us with a complimentary volcano roll and green tea ice cream. 

Moreover, all the sushi rolls had the ideal consistency for sticky rice. There was very little seaweed wrapper, just enough to keep the rolls together without requiring a lot of chewing. 

The spicy tuna roll was finely ground and practically dissolved on our tongues.

It was lightly spiced, so the taste didn’t linger unpleasantly. 

Additionally, the salmon roll was similarly high-quality and buttery smooth. As for the Usumashi soup we had, it was delicious. 

The broth was light and not too salty or acidic, and the shitake mushrooms floating in the broth were not tasteless. The crab meat in the soup was tender too. 

Furthermore, we thought the yakisoba had the perfect amount of saltiness. It had authentic noodles with chicken bites that are manageable even for a chopsticks newbie. 

For dessert, their green tea ice cream was not sweet, but it did leave us feeling refreshed.

2. Soto

Website: Soto

Address: 224 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006, United States

Contact Info: +1 713-485-4514

Hours: Monday to Tuesday: 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Wednesday to Friday: 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM , 5:00 PM to 10:PM

Saturday: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Sunday: 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Google Reviews Score4.7/5
Yelp Reviews Score4.5/5
Facebook Reviews Score5/5
Total Reviews4.5/5
Score Consistency4.5/5
Sushi 4.7/5
Food Presentation5/5
Menu 4.7/5
Service4.5/5

Pros

  • Fire roasted salmon 
  • Crispy lobster tempura
  • Refreshing maki rolls
  • Creative and tasty Omakase menu
  • Flavorful uni pasta 

Cons

  • Dry sticky rice 
  • Tasteless nigiri 
  • Overwhelming toro roll 

Soto is the place to go if you want cutting-edge sushi or so we’ve been told. Many people also raved to us about Soto’s delicious Omakase tasting menu. 

Each course of the Omakase tasting menu may be tiny, but after our experience at Soto, we can testify that everything off the Omakase menu was tasty. 

When we walked into Soto, an elegant dining room awaited us.  The atmosphere was made more relaxing by the dim lighting. 

We liked how the staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome and explained to us the concept behind the Omakase menu. We also liked how the staff members we spoke with were informative about the different types of fish available on the Omakase menu. 

The majority of the fish Soto uses comes directly from Japan, so the quality and freshness were noticable in every bite. Although the Omakase menu, was not budget-friendly, the high quality of fish and sake pairings was worth every penny. 

We liked their fire-roasted salmon with hints of brandy and coffee beans as well as their crispy lobster tempura. We also ordered a variety of sashimi and nigiri, Uni pasta and some Maki rolls. 

The Uni pasta was flavorful, delicious, and laced with flecks of Uni butter and cream. We also liked the refreshing taste of the Maki rolls. 

Although everything we tried was fresh, the nigiri lacked depth of taste, and the rice was also an unusually off-kilter texture. The sticky rice was a little on the dry side for our tastes, but it was still edible. 

We also didn’t like how the delicate buttery flavor of the toro and truffle roll was masked by the fried shrimp in the middle and the green onion on top. 

3. Uchi 

Website: Uchi 

Address: 904 Westheimer Rd Suite A, Houston, TX 77006, United States

Contact Info: +1 713-522-4808 

Hours: Monday to Friday: 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Saturday to Sunday: 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Google Reviews Score4.7/5
Yelp Reviews Score4.5/5
Facebook Reviews Score4.4/5
Total Reviews4.5/5
Score Consistency4.5/5
Sushi 4/5
Food Presentation5/5
Menu 4.7/5
Service4.5/5

Pros

  • Delicious yokai berry and duck dish
  • Sweet peanut butter semifreddo
  • Refreshing apple miso sorbet 
  • Sake is available 

Cons

  • Advance reservations needed 
  • Salty egg custard

Uchi incorporates the flavors and decor of traditional and modern Japan. Their modern take on traditional Japanese fare manages to be both familiar and foreign all at once. 

From what we’ve noted, dining in Uchi’s sleek and modern dining room requires advanced bookings. If not, walk-ins can still enjoy beverages on the patio or at their cozy bar.

We liked how inside Uchi, customers can order from their daily tasting menu or belly up to the sushi bar for some sashimi or a special sushi roll. 

One unique sushi roll is their ham and egg roll made from Katsu pork belly and custard from egg yolk. While we liked the crispy Katsu pork belly, the egg custard was too salty for our tastes. 

We recommend trying their yokai berry. The yokai berry consists of Atlantic salmon served with fried and blanched kale, bite-sized pieces of Korean pear, and tiny blueberries flavored with green tea and yuzu.

 Moreover, their duck dish is duck smoked in bourbon maple. It carries an aroma of rosemary—both of these meals were delicious. 

We also liked how at Uchi, customers can pair their meal with a glass of wine, a beer, or a saké. We also recommend their deliciously sweet peanut butter semifreddo with apple miso sorbet for a nice finish.

4. Genji Restaurant & Bar

Address: 11124 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77042, United States

Contact Info: +1 713-780-0827

Hours: Monday to Sunday: 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM

Google Reviews Score4.4/5
Yelp Reviews Score4/5
Total Reviews4.4/5
Score Consistency4.4/5
Sushi 4/5
Food Presentation4/5
Menu 4.4/5
Service4/5

Pros

  • Electric atmosphere
  • Traditional Japanese karaoke
  • Reasonably priced
  • Fresh and tasty yaki udon

Cons

  • Dirty tables and floors
  • Imitation crab in California roll
  • Vinegar flavored rice
  • Hard-to-chew fish cakes

From our observations, Genji Restaurant & Bar utilizes a traditional Japanese karaoke parlor to create a unique and electric atmosphere. Moreover, the Japanese cuisine and beverages here were reasonably priced. 

Although Genji Restaurant tables and floors weren’t sparkling clean, we did like how the staff at Genji Restaurant & Bar treats their customers like family and provides service with a warm, friendly attitude. 

Additionally, we noted customers renting karaoke rooms by the hour, and others were simply singing in the lobby. We also liked how the menu had a lot of variety without being overpowering. 

There was never a moment when our glasses of water were empty, so we liked the attentiveness of the staff in this aspect. While we didn’t sing any karaoke, we ordered various dishes from their menu. 

We ordered their tempura udon, a California roll, and a yaki udon. We liked the thick, firmness of the noodles in the tempura udon.  

The sweet and salty dashi broth paired well with their crispy prawn tempura. However, we did not like the fish cakes as they were bland and hard to chew. 

We didn’t like their California roll because the rice was overpowered by their use of vinegar, and we did not like the taste of the imitation crab. 

As for their yaki udon, we could taste the freshness in the vegetables and the flavorful mixture of ginger, garlic, and soy sauce.

5. Miyako

Website: Miyako

Address: 345 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77057, United States

Contact Info:  +1 713-781-6300

Hours: Monday to Friday: 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM

Saturday to Sunday: 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Google Reviews Score4.4/5
Yelp Reviews Score3.5/5
Facebook Reviews Score4/5
Total Reviews4/5
Score Consistency4/5
Sushi 4/5
Food Presentation5/5
Menu 4/5
Service4/5

Pros

  • Refreshing Crazy Caterpillar roll
  • Polite servers 
  • Well-presented dishes 

Cons

  • Lack of sushi and sashimi prices
  • Slow sushi service
  • Noncreamy Crunchy New York roll 

Miyako is one of the local community’s top choices for Japanese food, as many claim the fresh sushi Miyako serves is hard to get anywhere else. As Miyako has a lively ambiance, the restaurant gets crowded quickly during rush dinner hours. 

Despite the busy crowds, we’ve observed that Miyako delivers classy meals that make you feel like you are dining in downtown Tokyo. Note that there are few to no parking spaces in front of Miyako, so you might have to park across the street. 

First, we noted how the interior of Miyako has strayed from the traditional authentic Japanese wooden tables and decor to a more contemporary and elegant style. They also have a privately reserved room in the back of their restaurant. 

On the menu, there was a wide variety of traditional and innovative dishes to sample, including sushi, fried rice, ramen, udon, and more. But one thing we took note of was the lack of prices on the menu under the sushi and sashimi section. 

Our server was courteous and never lingered too long at our table. Although we wouldn’t recommend every dish we tried due to taste, we liked how each dish was well presented. 

We started with the spicy ginger fried rice, the Mardi Gras, Crunchy New York, and Crazy Caterpillar sushi selections. We liked how the chef cracked the egg right in front of us and stirred it into the steaming fried rice for us. 

The ginger and wasabi served on the side of their sushi were fresh and strong, so be careful not to eat too much wasabi. One thing we didn’t like was that it took a while for the waiter to bring out our sushi rolls as they waited until we finished one to bring out the next. 

All the sushi rolls were in small portions, so we recommend ordering a few different pieces to get full. We liked the Mardi Gras sushi as the fried coconut shrimp blended well with the avocado and caviar. 

The light avocado and cucumber pairing in the Crazy Caterpillar roll was a refreshing taste contrast to the slightly spicy Mardi Gras. However, we didn’t like the drizzled spicy mayo over the Crunchy New York roll and the lack of creaminess in the crab salad filling.

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