Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Nara Restaurant and Sushi Bar

He: Can you say overpriced? Nara (11124 Westheimer, Houston, TX) takes this concept to new heights. We went there recently with friends who live in that neck of the woods.

Our dinner included one Miso soup, about 12 pieces of sushi, one roll, and one dessert. We drank water. The bill was $91 plus tip. Now if this had been the best sushi ever, I would not complain about the price, but the food was nothing special. The soup was good, but it is difficult to screw up Miso soup. We actually sampled half of two rolls. One was a spider roll and I have to admit that the oil they used to deep fry the crab was fresher than what we got elsewhere. I am not sure what the other roll was, but I didn't think it tasted particularly interesting. The ingredients seemed long on vegetables and short on anything that would round out the flavor.

The real let down was the sushi, though. We got the usual suspects including salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and for variety some grouper. While none of the sushi was bad, none of it was good either. The tuna and the grouper were chewy in a way that suggests that the cut came from a very large fish. We didn't order a second round, but I don't think I would have wanted seconds of either of these. The rest of the sushi was all right in terms of consistency and taste. All of the pieces were tiny except for the salmon (big surprise!). As with Shiva, the high point of the meal was the dessert of excellent Banana Tempura, which at only $4 a serving was probably the only reasonably prices part of the meal.

Nara offers quality like Oishii at prices well north of what Teppay charges. At Oishii we would have paid about $25 for the dinner that cost $100 at Nara. At Teppay we would have paid maybe $60 for vastly superior food. Nara has the dubious distinction of being one of the few restaurants I will not willingly visit again.

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