It's been a few weeks now since chef Harold Wong debuted his new menu at The Fish, the 12-year-old Midtown sushi joint that also underwent a recent renovation as part of an overall facelift. Wong—formerly of Azuma Downtown—left Uchi Houston to helm this revamped version of The Fish, so don't be surprised to see dishes on the menu here that are more, shall we say, playful than your standard sushi restaurant. Candy Crush Bacon, for instance, features something called "pop rock gelee" alongside a hunk of pork belly, while the Smoking Hot Tail pairs smoked yellowtail and raisins—also seen in Uchi's famous machi cure—with jalapeños, kiwi, and fried shallots.
309 Gray St.
I didn't try either of these dishes on my recent trip to The Fish, preferring to see how the basics are stacking up so far. Sitting at the sushi bar, I didn't spot Wong but was pleased to see the rice in each piece of nigiri we ordered (red clam, yellowtail, mackerel, and an absolutely lovely pair of Spanish anchovies) was hand-warmed and well-seasoned.
I wasn't as taken with the Lobster Katsu roll, which came out as a hot, gloppy mess of soggy fried lobster, avocado, cream cheese, and something called "spicy sauce" that tasted like Kewpie mayonnaise mixed with Sriracha. The comparitively calmer Lickitty Split roll—spicy tuna, softshell crawfish, yellowtail, salmon, and regular tuna—was better, though still too busy for my tastes.
To my surprise, my favorite dish of the evening (just edging out those perfect little anchovies) was nothing to do at all with sushi, sashimi, or rolls. Instead, it was the Panko Egg, ordered on a whim from the appetizer menu. Alluring in its simplicity, the dish features two soft-boiled eggs coated in panko breading and flash-fried just until the panko forms a crispy crust. Cutting into the eggs reveals a golden yolk, that you're encouraged to mix with the bright orange trout roe, scallions, and wee spoonful of truffle salt on the side. Adding all three made the first far too salty, but leaving out the overpowering truffle salt on the second round made for a few bites of utter perfection, the juicy globes of trout roe offering the ideal amount of briny sweetness each time.
Between the finely constructed nigiri and that on-point egg, I'm eagerly anticipating another visit to The Fish—something I never would have imagined myself saying about the previously tired Midtown sushi joint before Wong came along. I'll just leave the rolls to the side next time, and venture into Smoking Hot Tail territory instead.