The Gateway Memorial City development is more than bustling, it's practically bursting at the seams with new restaurants from familiar talent. Grant Gordon's Vallone's will open December 1, the fourth Houston-area Churrascos hopes to open December 5, Bradley Ogden's Hops & Harvest is coming soon, and Adison Lee's upcoming Japanese eatery Kuu will be joining that lineup in early January of next year. Lee was the chef at Blue Fish and Sushi Raku before deciding to open this contemporary Japanese restaurant. "I chose this area instead of downtown or Midtown because there aren't too many contemporary Japanese restaurants here," Lee tells Eater. "I want to do something that's new, that combines seasonal ingredients and traditional Japanese technique."
The 4,800-square-foot interior and 1,200-square-foot patio will be outfitted with custom-designed furniture and plenty of stone and wood, Lee wanted an elevated rustic look with natural elements. The food will likely be on par with the décor, offering high-end seafood dishes and omakase dinners with sake pairings from sommelier Ricky Cheung, who will also be in charge of operations. "My favorite menu item is the Truffle Japanese Sea Bream," Lee tells Eater, noting that most entrees will average $35 to $50. That white fish main course will be just one of a wide variety of small hot and cold plates. Instead of following in the tasting menu trend, it will follow another movement we've been seeing: tapas-style dining at upscale establishments. In Japanese style, they will be carefully plated with what the owner anticipates will feature balanced flavor combinations, an homage to the name of the restaurant. Lee explains that "Kuu" means both "the art of eating and something that's delicious and tasty."
While Lee had hoped to open well before Christmas, he had to delay welcoming guests in until he was certain his staff was trained. "I don't want to be too rushed," Lee says. "I want to create a good team in this restaurant." He also wants to ensure that his staff is not only prepared to serve well, but that they care for the food and restaurant as much as he does. "For me, the key to Japanese cuisine is passion, passion and passion."
· Kuu [Facebook]
· Opening Reports [-EHOU-]