Award-winning restaurant conglomerate Hai Hospitality has announced that its exclusive Japanese restaurant Uchiko is coming to Houston this fall. In addition to the new eatery, they’ve appointed Executive Chef Shaun King as head chef of the Houston location. 

King's philosophy in the kitchen is all about what he calls “R.O.H.” or Return on Happiness.

“I believe in investing in your team and supporting and enriching the culture,” said King in a press release. “Hai embodies the ‘Kitchen-as-Community’ mentality that I believe is essential in running a restaurant that will defy expectations daily. I cannot wait to put these ideas into practice for our Houston guests.” 

Raised in California, King took an active interest in global cuisine at an early age. While his stepfather regularly traveled to Japan to train for Olympic trials for gymnastics, his mother performed tai chi demonstrations on the Great Wall of China, broadening his mind to culture and culinary inspirations. In his late teens, he worked for various Japanese restaurants including Las Vegas eatery Chef Rick Moonen's RM Seafood where he accepted a Chef de cuisine position. 

The nationally-known cook has traveled from California to Chicago raising his chef status from cooking in acclaimed restaurants such as Momofuku Las Vegas, Mina’s Groups Ramen Bar, and The Dawson. 

“Shaun is an incredibly talented and inventive chef who is passionate about fostering a healthy and positive team culture,” said Executive Chef and Partner Tyson Cole in a press release.  “Shaun’s point of view will be instrumental in driving the evolution of the Uchiko concept in Houston.” 

After closing his highly anticipated restaurant Bar King two days post-opening due to strict COVID-19 restrictions, King settled in Austin working for Uchiko prior to his new Houston residency. 

Just like its Austin counterpart, Uchiko Houston is set to be full of Southeast Asian flavors. Its prominent feature, the yakitori grill, will be the main attraction using post oak and binchotan woods for cooking preparations. In addition, Uchiko Houston will deliver a cocktail program to elevate the dining experience.

Uchiko’s Houston outpost makes the third Hai Hospitality concept in the Bayou City, joining Uchi, which opened in 2012, and Loro, the forthcoming Asian smokehouse in The Heights neighborhood. 

Uchiko Houston will open at Zadok’s Post Oak Place in late fall.

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