First Bite

At Shun, the Pork Dumplings Steal the Show

Then again, there's plenty to like about this second-generation Japanese kitchen.

By Timothy Malcolm October 18, 2018

A beautiful marriage of Texas and Japan: carnitas gyoza.

Naoki Yoshida, co-owner and head chef at Shun Japanese Kitchen, says this new concept at 2802 South Shepherd Drive is second-generation Japanese. That means he is building upon the food he knows from his parents (they own Nippon), by incorporating both what he's learned in his culinary life (spent in Houston) and elements local to the Bayou City.

The examples are everywhere, from a skewer of A5 Texas wagyu tongue, to hush puppies (also with wagyu) in a mozzarella "curry," to carnitas gyoza

And you need to order the carnitas gyoza.

Yoshida and his team (including executive chef Nick Hill, formerly of Triniti) make the dumplings from scratch. That means roasting the pork, pulling it, then stuffing the fatty, juicy meat inside handmade, wafer-thin dough. After a quick fry, the dumplings are crispy outside and tender inside, a sublime bite that doesn't need the accompanying soy ginger sauce.

Splurge on multiple orders of the carnitas gyoza, Then run through the sushi menu, which includes luscious sugar-crusted fatty tuna and a comforting, pecan-smoked uni nigiri topped with yuzu honey. Salt, sweet, and earthiness combine in this incredible bite. (You can also build your own sushi—it's $150 for four people—but you're in good hands here.)

The inventiveness immediately vaults Shun to must-try status. Give second-generation Japanese the try it so deeply deserves. Oh, and bring your own booze for now, as the liquor license isn't in yet.

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