1355 Sam Houston Jones Pkwy • Moss Bluff
Just a few nights ago, I was having a conversation with a good friend who asked if I had tried out the relatively new sushi restaurant in Moss Bluff. I admitted I had not heard of this place, but was pleased to learn of it. As he described the dinner he and his wife shared at the venue, it sounded more and more like a great welcome to the community. Moss Bluff has few to no options in the way of Asian cuisine, as the Great Wall, a popular Chinese restaurant, was everely damaged during Hurricane Laura and has yet to reopen.
Taking advantage of a plan-free Friday night, my wife and I headed out to dine at Kumo Sushi.
Located in the middle of the new strip mall adjacent to Rouses, on Sam Houston Jones Parkway, you’ll find, among the reflective panes of glass and columns of brick, the entrance to Kumo Sushi.
The dining room layout is narrow and deep. Most of the seating arrangements are booths with tall backs, wrapped in royal blue vinyl; there are only a few chairs. It appears there is future potential for stools to be placed in front of the itamae (sushi chefs).
Far short of the anticipated wait time, we were led to our booth, and greeted by our server, Kadynce, as we were handed our menus. The choice of adult beverages was limited to various beers, wines and warm sake, a fermented rice beverage.
For a relatively small restaurant, the menu is quite impressive. The pages begin with several hot and cold appetizer options, salads and soups, then transition into sushi and sashimi, rolls, noodle dishes, full course entrées with accompaniments, and hibachi. Do not confuse that with “hibachi” in our traditional sense in which you have groups of people seated around the chef, who is center stage, providing entertainment with skilled hands and flaming volcanoes of onion. Rather, the food is prepared on a hot surface in the kitchen out of view.
My wife and I agreed to choose a couple of appetizers and build from there. We both have a liking for gyoza and chose the steamed version along with an order of truffle white tuna.
Delivered to our table were two beautiful and unique dishes: gyoza, the small, hand-formed pockets of pork-filled dough, with a reservoir of teriyaki and soy to dip the tasty bites into; and the impressive truffle tuna — thin slices of delicate white tuna, arranged with slices of jalapeño, dotted with a caviar truffle oil, laid in a shallow wasabi soy. This appetizer offered a complexity of flavors, a touch of heat, a smooth texture in the tuna and caviar, and umami in the sauce.
With the visuals throughout the menu doing their job and enticing the diner, we weren’t quite ready to move forward to the entrée section yet. I really wanted to try the sweet shrimp sashimi, while the futomaki hand roll caught my wife’s attention. With each dish, the display of the food was stepped up. With the shrimp sashimi, a pair of naturally sweet, cold water raw shrimp, butterflied and perched on its exoskeleton, was drizzled in ginger soy sauce. Futomaki is a seaweed wrapped roll, almost cone-like, filled with a small sampling of rice, crab meat, egg, avocado, pickle, caviar and mayo sauce. This tasty little handheld appetizer is worthy of repeats in future visits.
By this point, it was getting later in the evening and time to progress to the entrées. An order of shrimp and vegetable tempura and shrimp hibachi rounded out the evening.
Sampling a couple of my wife’s hibachi shrimp, I sensed there was something unique in this flavor. There was an aspect to this, which, honestly, just epitomized what hibachi shrimp should taste like. I found that I could not get enough of this without taking too much away from her. I certainly envied my wife’s choice.
Focusing on my own side of the table, I sampled the tempura. To be honest, I have not ordered tempura in a number of years. The first thing that came to mind about the shrimp and vegetable tempura was that it’s not as good as I considered it when I was a kid. There was something about the coating, maybe a faint resemblance to a chicken nugget, that worked well when I was younger but not when my palette became advanced enough for traditional Japanese cuisine. I felt a bit underwhelmed with the dish and a bit of redemption about not having ordered it in such a long time. I’ll take the loss on that.
With several desserts available, my wife had reserved a choice early in the evening. I was not going to oppose her desire to finish the evening with a shared slice of tempura cheesecake. Following my entrée, I wasn’t planning on more than an obligatory bite. I found there was an odd and satisfying contrast between the flavors in the dish. I was prompted to take a couple more bites before I finished.
By the time my wife and I ended our indulgence, the doors were locked, the crew was gently cleaning and we literally closed the place down. Overall, Kadynce was wonderful in her service and personable interaction. The dishes were tabled in a timely manner. This was certainly an impressive feat with a full house. It was a successful and pleasant visit. We look forward to a return soon.
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