Catch Fresh Omega-3s, Mocktails and Chef Hori’s Favorite Fish for the New Year

Catch Fresh Omega-3s, Mocktails and Chef Hori’s Favorite Fish for the New Year

Amberjack and Foie Gras (photo by Caroline Fontenot)

IT GOES WITHOUT saying that diet is top of mind for many at the start of a new year. While fruits and veggies get lots of chatter for antioxidant benefits, fresh fish is also a major contender for boosting health.

Chef Manabu Horiuchi, aka Chef Hori, recently introduced his second Japanese venture Katami, but his lauded Kata Robata hasn’t slowed down a bit. The Upper Kirby haunt remains on best of Houston sushi lists and stays full most nights due to consistency and quality.

Where Katami has a big Wagyu-5 beef program, as well as sake and unique sushi combos, Kata Robata is strong on fish varieties, daily specials, and Japanese whiskies and sakes. The daily specials menu could include ten different featured sushi and sashimi in addition to the regular menu. Recently, we experienced medai Japanese butter fish, kamasu Japanese red barracuda, hirame Japanese flounder, and shima aji striped Jack, to name a few.

Chef Hori (photo by Shannon O'Hara)

Sushi (photo by Caroline Fontenot)

Housemade fresh seaweed salad (photo by Caroline Fontenot)

When searching for the healthiest fish, chef Hori says it's tough to pinpoint one type of fish because each variety — from salmon and tuna to leaner yellowtail — has a distinct flavor and health benefit. How to know what you like? To fully explore Kata's fish program, order the sashimi omakase. Hori recommends eating fish as often as possible because it's a clean protein, especially Kata's, since it's regularly flown in from Japan. “Additionally, fish is low in fat with many benefits, such as its high omega-three fatty acid content,” says Hori.

As far as his favorite fish-centric dishes on the Kata menu, Hori loves the amberjack sashimi – and when he’s feeling a bit decadent, he likes it prepared with foie gras like it is on the menu with tonic 05, lime juice, olive oil, roasted hazelnuts, and chives. Also, his classic miso marinated black cod — grilled Alaskan black cod served with broccolini and sweet red miso – is both delicious and nutritious.

Other healthful menu choices include an intriguing seaweed salad with several types of fresh seaweed and sesame vinaigrette — a vinaigrette so addictive we wish Hori would bottle and sell it! Another winner is the vegan Soba Salad starring nori, Brussels sprouts, taro, cabbage, cilantro, kimchi powder and kimchi vinaigrette.

Although the grilled Texas Kobe beef skewers are mouth-melting, you can dig into the robata menu without going heavy on the meat. Think grilled oyster mushrooms, grilled shishito peppers, and chicken skewers three ways. Wash it down with one of the new mocktails like the pretty Yuzu Sparkle with citrus, mint and soda, or the Fake ID with Fever Tree ginger beer, lychee and lemon.

The lunch menu provides another great way to explore all the fish in the sea without breaking the bank. Japanese bento boxes offer plenty of food and options, and all include miso soup, tofu, chicken teriyaki, seaweed salad and a California roll or rice. Value-packed bento sushi combo boxes are many, and of course, warm rice and noodle bowls are slurp-worthy for winter — yes, right now!

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