Houston food, restaurants and dining review. Urban living, travel, thoughts and other randomness.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Miyako (Kirby)

I have a love-hate relationship with this Houston institution. I hate that I always wind up here when there are several better sushi restaurants. I love that this was one my first sushi restaurants and is always consistently pretty good--though almost never great. Today I had the same experience. After wandering around in the car thinking about what I could eat for $10 or less, I settled on a few pieces of sushi.

So I thought about Sushi King (ugghhh), Fish, Cafe Japon, Azuma or Kubos. I ended up at Miyako because it's easy to get to from the house, and the place isn't as stuffy as some of the ones on my list. The sushi chef, a hispanic guy (Latinos will be the rulers of the culinary universe in a few years), told me the sake (salmon), hamachi (yellow tail), and maguro (tuna) were pretty good today. Since these are my three favorite raw fish, I ordered one nigiri (raw fish on top of rice) of each. It seems tuna is good here every time I come in and at every sushi restaurant in Houston. I suspect it's not because the sushi is most fresh, but because people like the red meat taste.

The hamachi tasted good, but lacked that buttery flavor that can really send it over the edge. I enjoyed my sushi while overhearing a conversation between a young political campaign consultant and an old Tulsa engineer who happened into a conversation. I followed the sushi with gyu tataki (seared beef) served with the lemony ponzu sauce. I highlyn recommend this dish at Miyako. The presentation and flavor has changed over the years, but the ponzu sauce remains nicely acidic.

So another failed attempt to save money... $25 for dinner. But I had a good meal in an old haunt. If you go, sit at the sushi bar, order the gyu tataki and strike up a conversation with the sushi chef. It's the best way to enjoy this place.

UPDATE (03.26.2007):I reviewed this restaurant two years ago. It's been about that long since I ate here. Now I remember why. When I last went, the food quality was decreasing. It's gotten to the point where I have to say you shouldn't eat here. Here is the round-up of our food today:

- Agedashi Tofu - Tasteless Tofu (not silky like it should taste) without the gently fanning potato starch. Cut too big

- Beef Sashimi - Low-quality beef cut too thick. Dressed with red hot sauce (ugghhh) and lacking any delicate flavor. If I wanted a steak, I would have ordered one.

- Spider handroll- Over-fried crab

- Yellowtail with Yuzu Sauce and jalepeno - Good idea, but bad tasting fish. It tasted dry and didn't have the butter quality you expect from yellowtail

- Salad - Drowned in dressing.

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