Before pandemic-related challenges could claim yet another beloved Lakeway business, Cho Sushi was saved in 2022 by Steven Xue, a young, serial entrepreneur and trained sushi chef.

Hailing from Los Angeles, Xue was only 25 when he rescued the 15-year-old Japanese restaurant, determined to preserve the offerings community members knew and loved.

The gist

Cho Sushi was first established in 2007 by Korean brothers John and Davis Cho, who went onto run two locations in Steiner Ranch and Lakeway.

Today, only the Steiner Ranch location remains, while the Lakeway location was closed and leased to Blue Fin Sushi & Ramen.

Xue said he made significant changes to the interior to modernize it, including adding new LED light fixtures, colorful decor and a sleeker sushi bar area.

General Manager Miller Xu, a friend of Xue from Los Angeles, said most of the menu remains untouched, aside from some Californian twists here and there.

"Chefs always keep some tricks with them, and they like to show them off by trying out new things to find what's best. ... For customers, they may not notice a big difference, but for us, that experimentation with technique is very Los Angeles," Xu said.

Most of Xue's new additions have been to the toppings offered with nigiri dishes.

The menu

The menu features a variety of traditional sushi, nigiri and sashimi, with the blue fin tuna and fresh-caught yellowtail fish being the most popular, Xu said.

Other seafood offerings include the pan-seared Chilean sea bass, spicy crab salad and pan-seared diver scallops.

For dessert, patrons can try Japanese-inspired sweets, such as tempura, green tea and mochi ice creams.

Sake, wine and Japanese beers are available for drinks.

Another detail

On top of Cho Sushi, Xue is also the owner of Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and Ebisu Japanese Restaurant.

When asked about how he gained the confidence to run so many restaurants in his 20s, Xue shrugged.

"He is never nervous about anything. He has a spirit of just always moving forward," said Xu, who has shared a friendship with Xue for nearly a decade.

Quote of note

"It's rewarding to hear from customers about old memories they have here. ... They really appreciate that we are still open since many have closed," Xu said.