WHY THE FISH:
Unlike the weekends, when this new Houston import throbs with sexy Uptown cool kids getting their sushi and sake on, lunchtime at The Fish Restaurant and Sushi Bar is quiet time. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For suits needing a place to spread out contracts, ledgers, and business whatnot, this sushi bar in the West Village (across Cityplace West Boulevard from the Hank Haney driving range) is an urban respite, albeit a slinky one clad in red suede and black velvet. Interior drama aside, the lunch mood is subdued and the service is swift and accommodating. Rather than focusing on “the scene,” your attention will be exactly where it should be: sublime food and the business at hand.
WHAT TO EAT:
Though lunch specials abound, opt for the regular menu. That’s because, while The Fish’s specials are sufficient, they don’t exactly wow the palate. Sushi and sashimi samplers provide all the usual suspects—tuna, salmon, California rolls, and the like—with a resounding yawn. Nothing bad, but nothing special. Likewise, diver scallops sauteed in a sake soy beurre blanc were a solid lunch option but didn’t quite live up to their dazzling menu description. What did impress, however, were the starters and sushi list. The spider trio featured three lightly fried soft-shell crabs, crisp and delicate. For the squeamish in your dining party, ditch the raw fish and order a round of beef ribeye rolls—rich meat wrapped around creamy avocado, lime zest, and a drizzle of teriyaki. Most items we tried on the sushi list were fresh and well-cut, the silky-smooth salmon belly and citrus-tinged octopus being two highlights. Sushi rolls have become progressively trendy over the years with silly names to match. It’s the same at The Fish, where you’ll find the cheeseburger roll, which has nothing to do with the diner favorite. Still, it’s hard to beat a fresh California roll topped with tuna, escolar, and spicy mayo-driven sauce. It pairs well with the sweet and savory lobster roll (shellfish with avocado and cream cheese topped with crab and wasabi mayo).
WHERE TO SIT:
Did we mention The Fish is empty at lunch? Lucky you, you’ll have your pick of tables. But for the utmost privacy, the glass-walled wine room holds up to 16 people.
Traditional Sushi and Asian Fusion
$$$ (Average lunch entree price: $15)
West Village playboys
FULL BAR: Yes