100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 56, Sushi at Sushi Miyagi

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Photo by Michael Shum
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

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Photo by Troy Fields
Last year, it was the enormous sashimi sampler at Sushi Miyagi that made the list of 100 Favorite Dishes. This year, it's something far simpler: basic nigirizushi.

There's something hypnotic about watching chef/owner Mr. Miyagi make sushi. He represents 50 percent of the entire workforce at his namesake Chinatown restaurant (his wife, who takes orders and paints the artwork found on the walls, represents the other half), but he never rushes through an order, which he acknowledges by calling out a soft "Hai" to his wife as she reads each customer's selection to him from across the small dining room. He always takes his time.

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Photo by Troy Fields
Mr. Miyagi at work, slicing fish for a sashimi plate.
Taking his time is a mark of quality and pride; you're not going to Sushi Miyagi to get cheap, grocery-store sushi on the run. So while I've seen more than a few complaints to this effect online, I'm here to say that good things come to those who wait.

Each piece of fish is sliced with the kind of expert precision that comes after 30 years of being a sushi chef. Each mound of rice is shaped lovingly by hand before being pressed lightly onto the plate. Even the decorations -- carved carrot roses or swans made of lemon peels, or real shiso leaves instead of tacky green plastic paper meant to resemble grass -- are meaningfully constructed. And each delicious bite of sushi is a reflection of the care and thoughtfulness that went into it.

No, you don't eat at Sushi Miyagi to rush through your meal. You eat here to savor it.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill
No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk
No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island



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Location Info

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Sushi Miyagi Restaurant

10600 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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9 comments
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FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

 There was literally an article yesterday singing the praises of Sushi Wabi and Oishii.  Two good, inexpensive places.

Guest
Guest

Yeah, I know.  I've been to both and many others inside the loop.  Generic Americanized fare, I don't concede that they qualify as good.

Guest
Guest

You're right in that there are a lot of sushi places inside 610, but with the exceptions of Kata Robata, Uchi, and Kubo's, all of which are more on the high-end chef driven side vs. low key mom and pop, none of them are particularly good. 

Arigato
Arigato

I've eaten at Sushi Miyagi many times.  It's one of the best in town.  I've always had better sushi at some of the places outside the loop than inside the loop.  Once great one is Sushi Jin at Memorial and Dairy Ashford.  The inside the loop sushi places are mostly meat markets/pick-up joints rather than good sushi restaurants.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

 Fine, as long as I can sit in a corner with a Cobra Kai headband and catch flies with chopsticks.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

What makes Miyagi so special for me is how it's like going into a little mom-and-pop sushi restaurant in Japan. There's no one else there besides Mr. and Mrs. Miyagi -- it's just the two of them -- and the place is so unique because of it. You really get the sense that you're being welcomed into their home, not just a restaurant. I think the fish could probably be blatantly average and I'd still love it just for the atmosphere alone. They're just incredible people.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

 Well, I have gone to Honduras Mayan, Cafe Pita, that place you recommended last year for grilled oysters; it's not like I won't do it when I'm intrigued.  Hell, my favorite roll used to be at Nara years ago because of their "Godzilla roll"  (spicy tuna roll covered in crushed raw jalapenos and then drizzled with Tabasco...  Mouth is salivating just recalling it.)  And that place was near this place on Westheimer back in the day.  But we really have some great sushi restaurants inside the loop these days, and it is hard to fathom how Miyagi would bring something unique in that regard.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Fatty, I love you... But you do realize how ridiculous this sounds, right? It's the opposite of shitty suburban attitudes towards anything inside the Loop and/or restaurants that aren't chains. I don't understand why you'd close yourself off to some of the city's most amazing and affordable food (not specifically at Sushi Miyagi, but at dozens and dozens of other restaurants in far-flung parts of town) by refusing to drive past the Beltway.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Gonna have to be one of those "I'll take your word for it" type of places.  Far too many good sushi restaurants inside the loop to venture past the Beltway for it.

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