PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston April 2024

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Page 99 of 115

CLASS LAURANN CLARIDGE EXPLORES KATAMI, CHEF MANABU HORIUCHI'S EXCITING NEW JAPANESE EATERY. W hen word spread that four-time James Beard Award nominee Manabu Horiuchi and partner Yun Cheng were opening a new restaurant in the Montrose area, Houston's sophisticated dining set took notice. After all, this isn't just any Japanese- born chef, but the exacting culinarian who brought us Kata Robata 15 years ago — arguably one of the best restaurants of its kind in Texas. His second eatery, Katami (Japanese for keepsake or gift), opened quietly late last year on West Dallas in the Harlow District development. Here, Chef Hori (as he's known) introduces diners to his interpretation of the future of Japanese dining: a pristine sushi-forward menu with a secondary focus on Wagyu-grade beef preparation. Known throughout the city for his meticulous sourcing of ingredients, Chef Hori calls upon his longstanding relationships with Japanese fishmongers to guarantee that 80 to 95 percent of the fish on his menus is caught off the coast of Japan an astonishing 20 hours before it hits your plate. The elegant confines of Katami were created by Abel Design Group — an intimate-feeling space that's a study in tranquil, neutral hues inspired by nature, with 160 seats indoors, and 40 more on the patio that's opening soon. Steering away from hackneyed Japanese iconography, Abel leaned into feng shui principles. Natural light streams through the dining areas by day, while the bar and lounge are cloaked in darker, more somber tones. The 12-seat sushi bar, slightly elevated from the dining area, is the focal point where you can watch the masters at work. Dine à la carte, or put yourself in the hands of sushi masters with a 9-, 12-, or 15-piece sashimi-focused omakase (essentially, a chef's choice tasting menu). I started with a vegetable-forward appetizer, tomato somen salad with cold wheat noodles and peeled Campari tomatoes tossed in a honey-sweetened soy sauce and adorned with fresh shiso leaves ($15). Another chilled not-to-miss dish is toro tar tar, which blends a fatty tuna cut with Korean-style kimchi- spiked sauce sprinkled with peanuts and shredded crisp taro chips, topped with the yolk of a quail egg, which you're urged to blend together tableside and serve upon diminutive milk toast croutes ($26). Treat yourself to Katami's rich miso sake lobster (reasonably priced at $24). It's an inspired take on lobster thermidor with roasted lobster meat enrobed in a miso-scented bechamel covered with panko crumbs and grated cheese care of Houston Dairy Maids nestled in the lobster's half shell. The Japanese-imported A5 wagyu is a delicacy worth seeking out. Take the A5 olive Wagyu Kagawa, a New York strip cut where the cattle are fed an olive-rich diet, resulting in a rich and otherworldly tender cut, each flavorsome bite possessing a subtle nutty note ($65 per ounce). Katami, 2701 W. Dallas St., Above: Uni service. Chef Manabu Horiuchi. MASTER CASEY GILTNER CASEY GILTNER

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