16 APRIL 29, 2005
www.houstonvoice.com HOUSTON VOICE
THIS MOTHER'S DAY,
MOM'S THE WORD.
Treat Mom to the day she
really deserves. A special
Mother's Day Brunch at the
Houston Marriott Westchase.
Choose from an elegant array
| of traditional breakfast and
1 dinner dishes, carved items,
salads, desserts and more.
So leave the work to us. And
be our special guest.
| Going above and beyond.
IT'S THE MARRIOTT WAY*
Sunday, May H, 2005
10:30am - 3:00pm
$35.95adults • $32.95senior.!
$17.95 children 6-12
5 &■ under FREE
1 Houston Marriott Westchase
1 2900 Briarpark Drive
Huii-ton, TX 77042
1 •Pftcrioti nor include rat andgratuity. 18%gralu,ty
1 oMtd to parttn of in 16) or more.
Size Doesn't Matter...
1220 Taft Street
Houston Texas 77019
Full Service Catering
Carry Outs & Delivery
From Breakfast to Late Dinners
Additional Parking Available
Next to Hollywood Video
OPEN for Breakfast,
Lunch and Dinner with a full bar
7 DAYS a week
Early Morning and Late Night
C dining j.a. chapman
Azuma goes downtown with sushi and robata served
in a an upscale but casual environment that is great
on the sushi but could use just a bit more rice on the side.
Downtown to Azuma
FANS OF AZUMA WILL BE PLEASED
to learn that a second location has opened
The sleek, modern Japanese restaurant has brought across its style and
menu from the original Kirby location to
the Rice Lofts. Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar
is a good fit for this neighborhood -
upscale and casual.
The decor is done in sharp black and
neutral tones. Intriguing touches such as
ceiling light fixtures made from asymmetrical beige cloth boxes are visually stylish, yet in keeping with the overall
The robata, or open flame charcoal grill, is
one of the signature dining experiences at
Azuma. We ordered the robata combo one
($12), which allowed us to sample beef, shrimp
and calamari, grilled on skewers. And thus
began our adventures in poor service.
We ordered the appetizers even before
our drinks, yet the kitchen served up one
of our main courses before anything else
arrived. The person who delivered the
food was not our waitress, so it took some
time to sort out of the situation.
Eventually, our appetizers arrived, but
they brought us combo two, which included shiitake mushroom and shrimp as well
as the other three items. The robata is
tasty but the various items seemed to be
seasoned in the same manner, making
them all a bit the same. Two dipping sauces
add flavor. We all agreed the mushrooms
were the best of the bunch, so in the end
we were glad for the service mix up.
Our favorite appetizer was the shiitake
age ($6), shiitake stuffed with shrimp and
calamari and tempura fined. A delicate tem-
pura outside contrasted nicely with the tender shiitake and seafood inside. Even the
serving was generous. Unusual and creative,
it was one of the best dishes of the evening.
Don't miss the Azuma hot rock beef ($14).
A blazing hot rock, butter, and thinly sliced
beef are placed in front of you on a stylishly
arranged platter. You season the rock with
the butter, then cook the beef to your liking.
It's fun and decadently delicious. Like many
of Azuma's dishes, however, the servings are
miserly, there's no rice or other starch, and
you're left wanting more.
THE VOLCANO CONCH ($12) SOUNDED
intriguing. Our waitress told us fake crab
cake, along with the conch meat, was
sauteed with vegetables. We could hardly
wait to see what she meant.
Although stunningly served in a large
upright conch shell with a piece of fruit
set aflame, the result was somewhat disappointing. The conch meat was rather
tough and slices of unidentifiable seafood
made it seem almost down-market. Quite
The sushi at Azuma's new location is made of top-
quality seafood and is stylishly presented.
spicy, it too would have seemed a more
complete dish if accompanied by rice.
Fortunately, we had plenty of rice to
spare from the una ju ($15), grilled freshwater eel on rice. The eel was outstanding, served slightly warm with a hint of
smokiness. The serving of eel could have
been more generous, but there was
enough rice for six people. Odd serving
combinations seem to be a theme.
Azuma is a better deal at lunch. A special lunch menu, with a wide variety from
sushi to udon to bento boxes is offered.
The lunch specials are served with a
salad, topped with the traditional
Japanese spicy dressing.
The roll combo C ($12.95) includes
three hand rolls and a spider roll made
with softshell crab. The seafood is top
quality and very fresh, and everything is
stylishly presented. Even the service
seems more attentive and speedier at
lunch. The dishes arrived promptly, and
the waitress was quick with the check.
Azuma is a stylish, dependable
Japanese restaurant, and the new location is a good fit for downtown. With a
built-in clientele from lofts, the busy theater district and nearby offices, it's sure
to fill a niche.
Azuma Sushi &
909 Texas, Suite E
Food: www 1/2
Scene: WWW W
n> = Stay home and eat cereal
WW= Well, if you really must
w W w = Fine for all but the finicky
W W W W =Worth more than a
W W W W W =As good as you'll
find in this city