There isn't much local produce in Scottsdale, Ariz.; in Houston, however, a restaurateur has far more options. That's just part of what convinced former Houstonian German Osio to open his second SumoMaya Mexican-Asian Kitchen in the Bayou City. Though he says he tries his hardest to work with area farms to supply his two-year-old Scottsdale location, he's confident a Texan bounty will be reflected on the menu of his second SumoMaya when it opens at River Oaks District late this summer.
What else can diners expect? A fusion of favorites from across Asia and Mexico, of course. Osio admits that he had doubters when he proposed combining pork al pastor and pad thai, but the noodle dish is now his top seller. He expects that ingredient availability will only vary the Houston menu from the one in Scottsdale by about 15 percent of its items. That means he's certain that dishes such as the apple-salmon sushi roll, Mexican pho with roasted pasilla chile broth, and Vietnamese-style shaking beef with filet mignon will definitely be served in River Oaks.
Osio is a firm believer in feng shui and has already sent his expert to the new location to check it out. As in Scottsdale, the space will be dominated by a 28-foot tree to bring literal life to the restaurant. Houston will also follow suit in its decor of wood walls with "Asian clean lines" paired with the rustic touch of Mexican tile work.
Besides lunch and dinner, the new SumoMaya will serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday. And the clubby spot, which will host DJs both during brunch and on weekend evenings, doesn't stop at just serving happy hour specials. A menu of discounted dishes is available until 6 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. until the kitchen closes, usually around 1 a.m. During those hours, $3 buys diners two fusion tacos (think Korean beef or tempura cod), charred edamame or a selection of hand rolls.
Despite the chi-chi River Oaks location, Osio hopes that such deals will bring in a variety of diners as it has in Arizona. "I didn't want to be too pretentious or too serious," he explains. "We touch on all the price points."
He says he hopes a youthful crowd on a budget will stop in for tacos and one of the several guacamoles, while the more typical District crowd will be drawn in by omakase meals and wagyu beef. In fact, the Scottsdale location already boasts enough moneyed clients that Osio says SumoMaya's Billionaire Roll, which combines wagyu with snow crab, asparagus, soy aioli and truffle-garlic butter with a covering of gold flake, is one of his most popular dishes.