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Two Popular Houston Chefs Will Soon Bring a New Sushi Destination to Washington Avenue

The as-yet-unnamed restaurant, from the minds behind Kokoro and Handies Douzo, will debut this spring

Chefs Patrick Pham and Daniel Lee
Courtesy Handies Douzo

In the coming months, the space that previously housed Kukuri at 1902 Washington Avenue will be transformed into a new sushi restaurant.

The as-yet-unnamed restaurant is the third project for Patrick Pham and Daniel Lee, the chef-partners behind the hugely popular Kokoro at Downtown food hall Bravery Chef Hall and Handies Douzo in the Heights. Business partners Andrew Lin and CJ Short — both principals in Handies Douzo — are also involved in the new project.

Originally, the plan was to name the restaurant Fuku, which means “luck” in Japanese. Unfortunately, that name is already owned by mega-restaurateur David Chang, who operates a fried chicken restaurant under the same name.

The 2,800 square foot space, located just a couple of blocks away from B&B Butchers on Washington Avenue, was leased in late January after about six months of talks. It became available after Kubo’s exited the space. Kukuri, the high-end omakase concept featuring chef Shimao Ishikawa from New York City’s Jewel Bako, was the original opening tenant.

An extensive remodel is currently in the works. “It’s going to cost more money, and it’s going to take a while longer, but this is the first full restaurant and we want to make sure we do it right,” Lin tells Eater. “It wouldn’t do justice or match the brand if we just took over the space.”

Though details are still scant, architect Anthony Vu of AMC Designs, who recently designed Ume in the Heights, has been tapped to re-imagine the space. Lin’s sister, Julie Lin, a retail design expert who owns the LA-based JAW Collective design firm, will lead the interior transformation.

As for the actual food, Lin says that diners should expect a menu that’s “more sushi-focused.” “We want to make it more accessible and will probably have a more core menu with rotating specials,” he says. “We will still continue with the quality, but we want it to be in character with the chefs and have a fun vibe to it.”

Lin says that the restaurant will open as soon as possible, hopefully in the next few months. “It really all depends on the city and being able to obtain permits on a timely basis,” he says. Stay tuned for more details on when this restaurant is set to debut.