Best Restaurants 2014

Best New Restaurants: Asian Fusion

The cuisines of Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and East Asia—everywhere in East Asia—are once more at the forefront of the city’s culinary scene.

By Katharine Shilcutt September 30, 2014 Published in the October 2014 issue of Houstonia Magazine


Infused sojus at Dosi Restaurant & Soju Bar

Dosi Restaurant & Soju Bar

With its emphasis on beef and spicy flavors, Korean cuisine has always found a kindred spirit in the Houston palate. But both also share a love of exploration, as this Montrose eatery cleverly proves. Dosi’s modern interpretations of classic Korean dishes feature smart Texan touches, like juk—called dirty rice here—served with jalapeño steam bread. We’re comfortable recommending anything on the menu here, providing you wash it down with grapefruit-infused soju, a Korean vodka-ish liquor that may well be the next hot spirit. 

Nara Sushi and Korean Kitchen

Serving up Korean food, sushi, and a sleek, fashionable River Oaks locale is a hat trick only veteran chef Donald Chang could pull off. And yet, it’s just one of his many feats here—others include modern cocktails made with Japanese sakes and Korean sojus, Korean flap buns stuffed with Berkshire pork and kimchi, and grilled bulgogi sushi rolls. Korean dumplings with pork and oxtail broth is a perennial standout, while sexy sashimi items like peppercorn-encrusted tuna with pears, jalapeños, and ponzu sauce are marvelous. And don’t miss what Nara calls “Texas-sized Sharing Plates,” featuring new offerings like a Tomahawk Wagyu and jae yuk bokkum, spicy sautéed pork over house-made kimchi and fried tofu cubes.

Lillo & Ella

Asian fusion is back with an ironic twist at chef Kevin Naderi’s stylish little Shady Acres café. There’s Korean fried chicken bao buns for lunch, shared plates of salty Vietnamese chicken wings or blue crab fried rice for dinner, and a cocktail list that includes “Crawling through Bellaire,” which tastes like Vietnamese iced coffee with a shot of Cognac. The thai muu noodles tossed with ground pork and green beans are excellent, made not with Thai rice sticks but Cantonese egg noodles that look like nothing so much as linguine. (For more on Lillo & Ella, see our review).

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