Ambitious Rice Village food hall Politan Row permanently closed its doors in 2020 during the pandemic, but at least one of its chefs is back with his own restaurant.
Kata Robata veteran and award-winning chef Masaru Fukuda opened his latest restaurant Pacha Nikkei at 10001 Westheimer Road, Suite 5 on Friday, August 12, and he’s incorporating plenty of personal touches that harken back to his Peruvian and Japanese upbringing.
A display of Peru’s history and Indigenous Japanese flavors, Pacha will serve up seafood dishes like lobster ceviche, sushi rolls sprinkled with Peruvian spices, and grilled octopus, plus lomo saltado — a Peruvian dish typically served with a side of rice that incorporates marinated sirloin with onions, tomatoes, and french fries.
The bar will also honor the Japanese Peruvian fusion, with Japanese whiskeys, liqueurs, sakes, and an assortment of Japanese and Peruvian beers, plus a variety of in-house pisco blends and infusions. Two highlights include El Tunche, which is made with a pandan-infused vodka, Midori, coconut, and banana, and a wagyu Old Fashioned, blended with a beef fat-infused whiskey, shiitake, and a nori reduction with a Japanese plum liqueur.
Fukuda, who curated a playlist specifically for Pacha, also aims to display Japanese and Peruvian culture with its modern decor, incorporating natural wood finishes with various tones of blue, and murals depicting four generations of Fukuda’s family and hundreds of people from Japan who immigrated to Peru in the late 1800s.
Pacha’s dining room will seat 64, but guests can also enjoy a change of scenery in its bar and lounge area, which seats 32, or at the 10-person ceviche bar.
Though Fukuda got his start in graphic design, he quickly decided his passion was in the culinary arts and began to pursue his interests, working under Peruvian chefs at Latin Bites and later with Japanese chefs at Kata Robata. Fukuda later launched his own catering company Pacha to share some of his Peruvian culinary skills. He hosted pop-up dinners under the name Nikkei (a term that refers to a Japanese emigrants living in communities around the world) around Houston, at places like and Grand Prize Bar, before debuting his Nikkei stall at the now-shuttered Politan Row Food Hall.
Fukuda has also looped in Houston restaurant veterans, including Kellyn Ferman, formerly of Kata Robata, who will serve as general manager, and Sebastien Laval, formerly of Musaafer, who will also help further develop Pacha’s cocktail menu, its training, and operations.
The restaurant is open from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.