I do have a soft spot for sushi places. I am always on a quest to find a place that is fresh, won’t break the bank and just a good vibe. Fortunately for me, NABI is just that. Woohoo a new restaurant to add to the mix. I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Ji Kang who is such a great, down to earth spirit. When speaking with him I can see how much he really loves what he does. He is all about his patrons. This is very refreshing to see from a chef who was trained in New York. His pricing is very fair, so much so I could frequent NABI a few times a week. This made me very excited because sushi places can get very pricey. Chef Kang is aware of the other competition coming to town, and wants to ensure the right message is conveyed to all patrons and future ones. He is a neighborhood establishment, where people can be regulars and have great food at a reasonable price.
My visit was at lunch time and I wanted to try more kitchen items. Ji was in agreement as these items are truly what will set NABI apart form all other Sushi/ Asian food restaurants.
I don’t usually dine alone, so this was a first for me, truly I was a little lonely wishing I could share this experience with friends as I usually do. I kept engaging Mariah the lovely server as Chef Kang was in the back working his magic. Can you picture me eating alone… it was a tad difficult so I took to twitter. You know how important meal sharing is for me. Anyways, back to the food. First item out was the chili edamame. This lovely little starter had flavors of toasted/ roasted chili that stayed on the bean. What a sassy way to kick of my lunch with out totally killing my taste buds. I moved on to tartar tacos and WOW! Fresh fish combined a little crispy taco to give the perfect crunch texture. Again, super fresh and fishiness to the dish at all. This had a bit of tang as there are Fuji apples mixed in along with some pine nuts.
The next two dishes stole my heart and still make me have cravings. Very rarely do dishes leave me speechless, but these sassy little brisket pot stickers left me me in awe. First of all as I told Chef Kang, I a not a fan of the slimy texture pot stickers tend to have. So when these came out and were slightly crispy, I just could not stop eating all three. Had I been sharing, my fork would have punctured any hand trying to take one from me. YES, major right? Well that is because they were THAT amazing. The brisket as I learned, is cooked for 24 hours. Simmering and absorbing the delectable flavors of the green chili. My Mexican side is pretty giddy with every bite I take. Now the rival dish for my affection is the pulled pork steamed buns. Hee-hee buns, and they are so tasty! Oh la-la just a marvelous combination of sweet and tangy pulled pork. Stick some round pickle slices in that bun and wow what a fun little party Chef Kang creates. This is a must try dish.
Closing out my tasting was the fried chicken. Ji puts such a great spin on this Southern Belle of a dish. The sauce has just enough kick with some sweet spots all mixed in and rubbed on top of the fried chicken. Truly a fun dish and sure to break the ice on a date as it’s a bit messy.
What a fun time I had UnCorking NABI. I see great things for this venture. Make sure you go try it out and tell them Jenn UnCorked sent you for some good old buns! As a matter of fact, I need to go back for the sushi part of the menu. Take a look at their website and remember they have awesome lunch specials, a great happy hour and also open for late night bites.
Till next time, Cheers and Provecho!
NABI neighborhood restaurant
1517 Westheimer Rd. Houston, TX 77006 | Tel:713.526.8866 | M-S:1130a-12a Sun:5-10p