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The Team Behind Celebrated Restaurant Kata Robata Is Planning Its Next Act in Montrose

Katami, a sushi-forward concept, is chef Manabu Horiuchi’s first new restaurant in 13 years

Chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi standing behind the sushi bar at Kata Robata.
Lauded Houston chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi will open Katami this spring.
Julie Soefer

In 2009, Japanese-born chef Manabu Horiuchi — affectionately known as chef Hori to all — and partner Yun Cheng opened Kata Robata in an Upper Kirby retail strip, raising the bar for Houston restaurants. Today, 13 years later, the duo announced they are partnering once again to open a second establishment together: Katami, a sushi-forward restaurant that will aim to showcase what chef Hori believes is the future of Japanese cuisine in America, according to a press release.

Set to open this spring, Katami will be located in the building that previously housed iconic Houston restaurant, Vincent’s, on West Dallas between Montrose and Dunlavy. The space designed by Abel Design Group will offer seating for 150 inside with an additional 50 seats on the patio and have a dedicated bar and lounge area.

Katami translates to “gift” or “keepsake” in Japanese, and the restaurant will no doubt be looked at in just such a way by Houston diners. “We opened Kata Robata 13 years ago as a Japanese restaurant that offered something for everyone,” says chef Hori. “It still does by serving ramen, robata, and of course, sushi and sashimi, but Katami will be where the sushi really shines. I will share my first love — sushi — as a gift and a show of gratitude to my adopted city of Houston where I’ve made my home and built a career.”

Chef Hori will lean on his trusted relationships with Japanese fishmongers to source the freshest bounty from Japan for Katami. Kata Robata prides itself on offering fish that is plated within 20 hours of being caught off the coast of Japan, and Katami will follow the same ethos. Replicating the formula he has long followed, chef Hori will incorporate what he sees fit from local purveyors, alongside Japanese ingredients.

Along with sashimi, nigiri, and hand rolls, Katami’s menu will include chef Hori’s own modern interpretations of traditional dishes. Highlights include wagyu sukiyaki, a Japanese hot pot-inspired dish cooked tableside, toro tartare with kimchi sauce, and Japanese milk bread. Houstonians should prepare to splurge, as there is an emphasis on luxury complements, like caviar service, foie gras, and A5 wagyu.

With a focused bar and lounge space, Katami will feature a curated beverage program to go along with its prime cuts of fish. Along with cocktails, wines will include a selection of reserve bottles, a large sake list, and a number of Japanese whiskeys.

“We’re excited for a new project,” says Yun. “Chef Hori and his team at Kata Robata have been executing at the highest level for more than 13 years, and we’re ready for a new challenge. We think this location at the intersection of Montrose and River Oaks will complement our existing space, and we look forward to welcoming more guests.”

It may have taken 13 years to produce a worthy follow-up to one of Houston’s best restaurants, but all signs point to it being well worth the wait.