“I knew I wanted to do something different,” Chang said. “More modern with more of a fun atmosphere.”
The restaurant opened in October after Chang was approached with the idea of opening a restaurant in City Place. The eatery is a great space for business meetings, family meals and date nights alike, he said.
“I fell in love with the whole area and the idea of it,” he said.
Sushi Rebel serves an array of specialty sushi rolls with ingredients such as wagyu beef, peppercorn tuna, Thai chili aioli and ceviche sauce. The menu also features other Japanese cuisine, such as teriyaki, fried rice, and lobster and shrimp rolls.
The restaurant has modern decor and a menu with a lot of options in case a customer isn’t a fan of sushi, Chang said.
“I'm certainly proud of the food that we put out and the quality of it,” he said. “I definitely have certain standards for everything. ... We tried to be fair with the pricing and just try to offer a nice selection.”
Chang and his brother own another Japanese restaurant called Uptown Sushi, which has been open for 19 years. As a child, Chang grew up in his family’s Japanese restaurant, which he said had more traditional Japanese food and decor than the restaurants he owns.
Working in his family’s restaurant helped prepare him for his career, Chang said, as well as his education in entrepreneurship.
“I was going to school and waiting tables at the same time. ... It's something that you're learning and you don't really realize,” he said.
As someone who has been involved in the Greater Houston-area food scene for decades, Chang said it is constantly changing and improving, so he likes to evolve too.
The restaurant recently started serving a sushi bar special plate, which features a sushi roll and nigiri—a fresh cut of fish served over a rice ball—chosen by the chef. This allows Sushi Rebel to showcase seasonal fish from Japan or have customers try something new, Chang said.
An important focus for Chang is also tweaking the Sushi Rebel menu to better match what customers enjoy, he said.
“You have to trust the customers' pallets,” he said. “If [an item] is not moving, it's for a reason. Maybe it's not what people are looking for. I didn't know kimchi Brussels sprouts were gonna be such a hit, but people love it, and we can never take that off the menu now.”
1700 City Plaza Drive, Spring
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sat. noon-10 p.m., Sun. noon-9:30 p.m.