Good things come to those who wait. Thirteen years after opening Kata Robata, chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi and his business partner Yun Cheng are expanding their reach in Houston through the opening of a second restaurant together in the Montrose space formerly occupied by Vincent’s. Katami, opening this spring, will present what chef Hori believes to be the future of Japanese cuisine in America with a menu that is sushi forward and uber fresh.
“We opened Kata Robata 13 years ago as a Japanese restaurant that offered something for everyone,” said chef Hori in a statement. “It still does by serving ramen, robata, and of course, sushi and sashimi, but Katami will be where the sushi really shines. I will share my first love—sushi—as a gift and a show of gratitude to my adopted city of Houston where I’ve made my home and built a career.”
Like Kata Robata, Katami will feature fish that is flown in almost daily from Japan, with 80 to 95 percent of the fish on its menu having been caught off the coasts of Japan within 20 hours of it making its way onto the tables of guests. The menu at Katami will be heavy on sashimi, nigiri, makimono, and temaki (handrolls), and guests will be encouraged to order dishes from each section. In addition to uber-fresh sushi, the restaurant will feature a selection of A5 Wagyu dishes made with beef also sourced directly from Japan.
While Katami’s menu will feature many dishes rooted in Japanese tradition, chef Hori also plans on doing a bit of experimentation at the restaurant through his own modern interpretations of traditional Japanese cuisine. Examples include the Wagyu Sukiyaki, a reimagined Japanese hot pot dish that is cooked tableside. Other menu highlights include hot stone abalone and uni dashi, foie gras PBJ, and toro tartare served with kimchi sauce and Japanese milk bread.
Katami, which will have seating for 150 inside and 50 on a patio, will feature a bar and lounge, allowing the restaurant to offer an expansive beverage program. In addition to a well-rounded wine list and craft cocktails, Katami will also offer an extensive list of sake and Japanese whisky.
“We’re excited for a new project,” said business partner, Yun Cheng, in a statement. “Chef Hori and his team at Kata Robata have been executing at the highest level for more than 13 years, and we’re ready for a new challenge. We think this location at the intersection of Montrose and River Oaks will complement our existing space, and we look forward to welcoming more guests.”