Owner prepares fresh rolls daily
For more than 30 years, restaurant owner Jerry Kim has worked with his hands to create distinctive Japanese-style sushi for guests in America, Japan and his home country of Korea. Although he began his experience working part time through college, Kim has turned his passion for sushi into a career, opening Sushi Sara off Hwy. 249 in Northwest Houston more than five years ago.
"While I was studying in university, I worked part time at a friend's restaurant," Kim said. "A job opened in Tokyo, and I worked there for 12 years. I liked it because I have a lot of friends there, but there were too many people."
The owner of the Tokyo restaurant decided to relocate to Houston, and he asked Kim and his wife to join him.
For several years, Kim worked in his friend's restaurant, continuing to make his creations from raw fish and unique ingredients. About five years ago, he and his wife decided to go into business for themselves, opening Sushi Sara as a way to have more control over his fresh ingredients and distinctive dishes.
The restaurant features revolving-style service—an increasingly popular method in sushi restaurants often seen in Japan and the eastern and western U.S., where food is presented on a rotating belt for guests to view and select—as well as dine-in, carry-out and catering service.
Sushi offered on the conveyor belt ranges in price from $1.65–$4.15 and features hand rolls, sashimi-grade raw fish and classic rolls. Selections range from traditional California rolls to more unusual items, such as boiled quail eggs.
Daily specials on Kim's handmade creations are offered, and lunch specials are available every day from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. for $7.95. Specialty rolls include the Bulgogi Roll ($9.95) made with grilled beef and onions with a Teriyaki sauce and the French Kiss Roll ($11.95) made with fried shrimp and cream cheese topped with smoked salmon.
"In Japan, people love raw fish," Kim said. "American's don't know as much about sushi culture, and they like cooked fish more. I'm happy to [offer] that, too. Here we see people from many different countries and backgrounds."
Kim said he has seen an increase in business recently with several new developments in the area, but said he does not want to expand or open additional locations at the moment.
"I'm used to it here," Kim said. "I like to keep my business small."
- Mussels appetizer–A selection of baked salt water mussels served with a spicy lemon sauce ($2.65)
- Quail eggs–This delicacy is served boiled and comes with three medium-sized eggs ($2.15)
- Specialty rolls–Ranging from classic California rolls to distinctive Korean-style sushi, there is something for all sushi lovers. Rolls feature both cooked and raw fish. ($1.65–$4.15)
- Chicken Teriyaki–A house favorite, this dish is served with seasoned grilled chicken breast, sliced and drizzled in a sweet teriyaki glaze. Served with steamed rice and a choice of soup or salad. ($7.95)
Sushi Sara features daily specials on select lunch items from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. For $7.95, guests receive an entree, side of rice and a miso soup or ginger salad.
- Chicken Teriyaki-Grilled chicken breast, sliced and served on a bed of rice and glazed in a teriyaki sauce.
- Korean BBQ-Korean-style short ribs braised and served in a light and tangy Korean-barbecue sauce.
- Shrimp Tempura-Jumbo shrimp dressed in a homemade batter and flash fried to a golden brown.
- Chicken Salad-Grilled chicken served over fresh vegetables with a house ginger dressing.
- Other specials include: Sake Bombs ($4.95) or "energy" Sake Bombs ($5.95), a ramen with rice combo ($5.95) and new specialty rolls and other handmade creations featured each day ($1.65–$4.15).
Mochi ice cream
A Japanese word meaning "cake," Mochi is traditionally made from a rice-grain that is pounded and shaped by hand. It has become popular in the U.S. to fill it with ice cream to make a distinctive dessert. Sushi Sara offers several flavors of this hand-rolled frozen offering, including green tea, strawberry and mango. ($2.15)
Sushi Sara, 18351 Hwy. 249, Houston 281-807-1731, Mon.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.