This week Houston Press critic Katharine Shilcutt continues her recent sushi kick with a look at Sushi Tora in Rice Military. On the blogs, H-Town Chow Down finds Torchy's lacking, Hank on Food patronizes Pink's Pizza and The Leader checks out Austin-import J. Black's.
If there's one thing Shilcutt loves about a restaurant, it's a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere. Despite its narrow confines and strip center location, Sushi Tora more than fits the bill. Between the "verbal fireworks" from chef Ken Tanagi and the walls decorated with concert posters from the likes of The New Pornagraphers and White Zombie, Sushi Tora shoves a big middle finger in the face of more staid spaces. While the restaurant only receives small portions of the best fish for nigiri and sashimi, rolls such as the 420 that combines shrimp tempura, two kinds of tuna, garlic and avocado are more successful. One piece of advice: sit at the sushi bar to avoid service hiccups; during one of Shilcutt's visits, the only waiter bolted after a loud argument with his girlfriend.
THE BLOGS: After almost two months without a post, H-Town Chow Down returns with an assessment of Austin import Torchy's Tacos. Despite ordering three different tacos, the Chow Down crew is unimpressed by the "spotty execution and weird proportions of ingredients. Like many things from Austin, the reality doesn't live up to huge level of hype."
Hank on Food only writes reviews of restaurants he enjoys, which means his write up of Pink's Pizza is considerably more positive. He tried the Supremo Pizza that combines pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, onions, black olives, bell peppers and fresh mushrooms. He awards it an A, calling it "a real winner in my book."
Finally, Heights/near Northside newspaper The Leader visits newly opened J. Black's in the space on Washington Ave formerly occupied by Phil's Barbecue. Critic the Leader Eater indicates that J. Black's isn't pretending to be a gastropub, writing "J. Black’s is not really the appropriate venue ... to seek out an unforgettable dinner. (It) is under no illusion that its food offerings are any more than a comfy, modern twist on bar grub."
· Quite a Show at Sushi Tora [Houston Press]
· Leader Eater: J. Black's Food Both Casual and Cool [The Leader]
· Torchy's Tacos Brings a Little More Austin to Houston [H-Town Chow Down]
· Review: Pink's Pizza [Hank on Food]
Sushi Tora [Jeremy G/Yelp]