Japanese-People Approved Best Japanese Restaurants in Texas

Pecan trees, BBQ and Tex-mex. Those are some of the food items that many of us associate with Texas, but Japanese food isn’t the first thing… or second or thirty-third thing that enters our minds when you think about the Lone Star State. That doesn’t mean you can’t have great sushi in Dallas or tasty ramen in Austin, because the food climate there is changing rapidly, and it’s alright, alright, alright.

  1. Yutaka Sushi Bistro (Sushi)
  2. MF Sushi (Sushi)
  3. Kula Revolving Sushi Bar (Sushi)
  4. Uchi (Sushi)
  5. Otoko (Sushi)
  6. Teppo Yakitori and Sushi Bar (Yakitori / Sushi)
  7. Ramen Tatsu-ya (Ramen)
  8. AGU Ramen (Ramen)
  9. Kemuri Tatsu-ya (Izakaya)
  10. Izakaya WA (Izakaya)

1. Yutaka Sushi Bistro

Sushi

Yutaka-Sushi-Texas-Chef

Photo Credit: http://www.yutakasushibistro.com/

Since Yutaka Sushi Bistro opened in 2006, Chef Yutaka Yamato’s restaurant has appeared on numerous Best Sushi lists from Dallas Magazine to Travel and Leisure. But that is expected, thanks to Chef Yamato’s experiences at legendary Nobu New York and Dallas. Tucked in a strip mall, Yutaka won’t win an award for curbside appeal, but it makes up for it with fantastic food. Yamato prepares fish the same way as some of the finer sushi bars in Japan, with some fish even flown in from Japan that morning!

Yutaka-Sushi-Texas_dish

Photo Credit: http://www.yutakasushibistro.com/

What to order:

If you have been thinking of ordering omakase, but can’t decide where to go, Yutaka is the (if not, THE) place in Texas. There’s also the “Sushi Tour of Japan” on the menu at a more affordable price tag of $20, and you can try sashimi prepared various way to whet your appetite for the full Yutaka experience.

Restaurant Info of Yutaka Sushi Bistro:

Navigation: 2633 Mckinney Ave. Ste 140, Dallas, TX 75204
Ring: 214-969-5533
Surf: www.yutakasushibistro.com

 

2. MF Sushi

Sushi

MF-Sushi-Texas_interior

Photo Credit: http://mfsushiusa.com/

MF Sushi is stunning. The restaurant is so attractive that people may suspect that the food quality takes a backseat. Lucky for us, that is the furthest thing from the truth. Chef and co-owner Chris Kinjo serves equally stunning and meticulously prepared sushi. He does traditional sushi as well as some mouth-watering, creative rolls such as the king salmon roll topped with truffle mousse. What he prepares behind the sushi bar is so magical, it earned him the nickname, “Magic fingers.”

What to order:

Chef’s Special changes daily, and it comes with 6 pieces of nigiri sushi for $25. It’s a great way to start or end the meal.

Restaurant Info of MF Sushi:

Museum District
Navigation: 1401 Binz St. Ste 100, Houston, TX 77004
Ring: 713-637-4587
Surf: mfsushiusa.com

 

3. Kula Revolving Sushi Bar

Sushi

OK, Kula doesn’t serve THE best sushi, but who can refuse $2.25/plate sushi that is better than strip mall sushi… WAY better sushi. As the name suggests, at Kula, you sit down in front of a revolving belt, and as sushi circles, you pick what you want. Sounds gimicky, but would you believe Kula actually serves high quality sushi? Kula uses rice and vegetables that are organically grown and all of their sauces, including ponzu, are made in-house without MSG. On top of that, their fish is delivered from same markets that bring seafood to the most luxurious sushi restaurants in America. Plus, isn’t it fun to see your food comes out like a bullet train?

What to order:

Lots of your favorite! (Remember, it’s $2.25 for TWO salmon belly sushi!!) None of the plates will be on the belt more than 30 minutes, so they are guaranteed fresh.
Pro move: Order gunkan sushi and hand rolls on the touch panel screen above you, so that your nori (seaweed) is fresh and crisp.

Restaurant Info of Kula Revolving Sushi Bar:

Austin
Navigation: 6929 Airport Blvd, Suite 125, Austin, TX 78752
Ring: 737-209-8799

Carrollton
Navigation: 2540 Old Denton Rd., Suite 140, Carrollton, TX 75006
Ring: 469-758-6188

Plano
Navigation: 100 Legacy Drive, Suite 100, Plano, TX 75023
Ring: 972-517-2400

Surf: kulausa.com

 

4. Uchi

Sushi

uchi sushi

Photo Credit: http://uchiaustin.com/

Decent sushi in Texas? Yes! Chef Tyson Cole’s quasi-authentic Japanese restaurant changes its menu daily depending on what’s available at the fish market, as well as which seafood has been flown in from Tsukiji market. There are omakase and plenty of a la carte dishes to share. Make sure you make reservations ahead of time, as the cool decor and fresh sushi makes Uchi one of the most desirable restaurants in Austin. There is a sister restaurant Uchiko, which serves great sushi as well, but with a stronger emphasis on small dishes.

Uchi-Texas_dish

Photo Credit: http://uchiaustin.com/

What to order:

Get Gyumaki, grilled wagyu beef, kimchi and thai basil roll. It’ll impress your palate as well as your date. Also, make sure you ask about the special of the day, as the sushi menu changes daily. Whatever you do, don’t ask for a California roll. It’s not on the menu.

Restaurant Info of Uchi:

Austin
Navigation: 801 S. Lamar Ave., Austin, TX 78704
Ring: 512-916-4808

Houston
Navigation: 904 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77006
Ring: 713-522-4808

Dallas
Navigation: 2817 Maple Ave., Dallas, TX 75201
Ring: 214-855-5454

Surf: http://uchiaustin.com/

 

5. Otoko

SushiKaiseki

Best-Japanese-Restaurant-Texas_Otoko

Photo Credit: http://otokoaustin.com/

Otoko only opens 4 days a week, and only serves omakase. In addition, there are only 12 seats available at per seating. It’s a guaranteed intimate dining experience of sushi kaiseki, which is a luxurious 10 course meal that comes with sushi and variety of cooked small dishes including dessert. This is the dining experience that brings you a little bit of Kyoto. You can pair the meal with wine, sake or tea.

Otoko-Texas_dish

Photo Credit: http://otokoaustin.com/

What to order:

Omakase only, and it starts at $150

Restaurant Info of Otoko:

Navigation: 1603 S Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704
Ring: 512-920-6405
Surf: otokoaustin.com

 

6. Teppo Yakitori and Sushi Bar

Yakitori Sushi

In Texas, where meat is a way of life, it’s not easy to please people when it is prepared in a foreign style; especially when the meat is presented on a dainty stick. Teppo opened in 1995, and has been serving yakitori ever since. Judging from the long wait, it seems that after two decades, Texans have approved, as Teppo’s yakitori is loved by locals. Chef/Owner Masayuki Otaka, who bought Teppo from the original owner in 2008, makes sure to maintain his high quality standards every day. Who would have thought that true Yakitori could be found in the heart of Texas? Just one more reason to visit the Lone Star State.

What to order:

Chicken meatballs with quail egg yolk for dipping and Texas quail seem to be local favorites.

Restaurant Info of Teppo Yakitori and Sushi Bar:

Navigation: 2014 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75206
Ring: 214-826-8989
Surf: http://www.teppo.com

 

7. Ramen Tatsu-ya

Ramen

Ramen-Tatsuya-Texas_interior

Photo Credit: http://ramen-tatsuya.com/

From its kitschy Japanese decor to its long communal table, Tatsu-ya ramen restaurant screams hipsterville. But, don’t disqualify Ramen Tatsu-ya because of it. Ramen Tatsu-ya actually serves authentic tonkotsu and other kinds of ramen for hungry Austinites and Japanese expats alike. The unique thing about this ramen restaurant is that Tatsu-ya created a variety of flavor bombs to make your favorite ramen extra… bomb.

Ramen-Tatsuya-Texas_ramen

Photo Credit: http://ramen-tatsuya.com/

What to order:

Tonkotsu original with your favorite bomb. Not into pork? Get OL’ Skool which is light with its chicken shoyu broth. Vegetarian? Tatsu-ya ramen restaurant has got you covered. Their veggie ramen is great with tofu topping.

Restaurant Info of Ramen Tatsu-ya:

North Austin
Navigation: 8557 Research Blvd, Ste 126, Austin, TX 78758
Ring: 512-893-5561

Navigation: 1234 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Ring: 512-893-5661

Houston
Navigation: 1722 California St., Houston, TX 77002
Ring: 346-226-3253

Surf: http://ramen-tatsuya.com

 

8. AGU Ramen

Ramen

Agu-Ramen-Texas_exterior

Photo Credit: http://www.aguramen.com/

Chef/Owner Hisashi Uehara isn’t new to the ramen scene as he already runs five popular AGU locations in Hawaii, so when his first Houston location opened in late 2016, the standard for ramen in Texas went up a couple of notches, as the AGU name began to appear on the must lists of every food media. What makes AGU stand out from the rest is their signature tonkotsu, pork broth, which is simmered for 24 hours, and took Uehara over 15 years to perfect. With five locations already in operation and a couple of more to open soon, Texans will be enjoying good ramen for years to come.

Agu-Ramen-Texas_dish

Photo Credit: http://www.aguramen.com/

What to order:

Tonkotsu, pork based broth, is the rich savory signature, and comes with shoyu, shio (salt) or miso flavors. If you like to go light, the chicken and vegetarian soups are equally flavorful. You can also go spicy or crazy hot spicy.

Restaurant Info of AGU Ramen:

PARKWAY VILLAGE PLAZA
Navigation: 1809 Eldridge Pkwy., Suite 108, Houston, TX 77077
Ring: 713-588-5768

WESTHEIMER ROAD
Navigation: 9310 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77063
Ring: 713-588-6889

and 5 more shops in Texas (as of 5/18/2017).

Hawaii (SAINT LOUIS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION)
Navigation: 925 Isenberg St., Honolulu, HI 96826
Ring: 808-797-2933

Surf: www.aguramen.com

 

9. Kemuri Tatsu-ya

Izakaya

Kemuri Tatsu-ya

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/kemuritatsuya/

The team behind the ever-so-popular Ramen Tatsu-ya came up with this Austin meets Japan eating experience…this time it’s izakaya style. Kemuri serves smoked fish and meats (try their fall-off-the-bone brisket and succulent duck), chili cheese takoyaki, sticky rice tamale, along with more traditional classic karaage chicken and yakitori. There is, of course a sashimi of the day, but they also have a BBQ boat, which features a smoked meat special. While it lacks the traditional Japanese atmosphere, Kemuri still rocks a fun underground downtown Tokyo vibe. Kemuri means “smoke” in Japanese.

Kemuri Tatsu-ya

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/kemuritatsuya/

What to order:

Definitely some smoked meat, and “Hot Pocketz” of gouda and brisket. Yakitori are grilled to perfection on binchotan; crispy on the outside, juicy in the inside! Because you are at Tatsu-ya, you can’t leave without beef broth and brisket Texas Ramen!

Restaurant Info of Kemuri Tatsu-ya:

Navigation: 2713 E 2nd St., Austin, TX 78702
Ring: 512-893-5561
Surf: http://kemuri-tatsuya.com

 

10. Izakaya WA

Izakaya

Izakaya-Wa-Texas_interior

Photo Credit: http://izakayawa.com/

Izakaya WA claims to be Houston’s first and only Japanese owned and operated izakaya and it shows in many of the dishes that they create. A lot of Japanese favorites are on the menu that probably aren’t familiar to most of us. Japanese curry with pork cutlet is a mildly spicy comfort food to Japanese people, and you can have good version of it at WA. You can also have a subtle kaiseki-like experience with “Matsutake Dobin Mushi” which is a Japanese seasonal favorite of fragrant mushroom matsutake steamed in light dashi which allows you to enjoy not only the flavor and texture of the mushroom, but also the earthy aroma.

Izakaya-Wa-Texas_dish

Photo Credit: http://izakayawa.com/

What to order:

Yakitori, grilled chicken on skewers, and kushiage, meat and veggies deep fried on sticks, are both great starters and fun to share with your friends and family!

Restaurant Info of Izakaya WA:

Navigation: 12665 Memorial Dr., Houston, TX 77024
Ring: 713-461-0155
Surf: izakayawa.com

 
*All prices, numbers and menu descriptions mentioned in the article are from the time of this article’s publishing. So keep in mind, they may have changed since then.

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