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Crazy buildup: New Houston restaurant that's been buzzed about for years is finally set to open

Fish and The Knife Sushi Bar and Lounge
Get Directions - 7801 Westheimer Rd Houston

Sushi restaurants feel like a dime a dozen in Houston, but few restaurants have generated as much conversation before ever opening as Fish and The Knife Sushi Bar & Lounge. While restaurants typically take a year or two to build out, Fish and The Knife has been under construction since 2010. No, really.

After a splashy VIP friends and family preview Sunday night, the restaurant will finally open to the public on Thursday after more than three years of buildup. 

What's taken so long? The restaurant took to Facebook to explain that, despite the constantly shifting targets for its opening date, there was a grand plan all along.  

First, the restaurant said it enlisted celebrated interior designer Tony Chi to design the space and had to wait until he could turn his attention to the project before it could complete its build out. (Update: A month after this story was published, an attorney for Chi contacted CultureMap to strongly deny that Chi designed the restaurant and has threatened to file a lawsuit "against the restaurant owners who he claims manufactured the association in an apparent plan to 'palm off' Tony Chi's impeccable, international reputation." All references to Chi have been removed from the restaurant's Facebook page.)

  On weekends, a 4,000 square foot section of the massive, 13,000 square foot space will transform into a nightclub with Las Vegas-style lights and sound.  

More importantly, the restaurant needed time to lure celebrated New Orleans chef Bob Iacovone out of the semi-retirement he began in 2009 when he left his restaurant Cuvee after seven and a half years to spend more time with his family. Iacovone also co-owned tapas restaurant Rambla, which closed in 2012. Cuvee's modern cuisine attracted plenty of praise, and it indicates that Fish and The Knife isn't just a traditional sushi spot.

Or, at least, the Iacovone's hot side of the menu will give Fish and The Knife a wider range of non-sushi offerings that a more traditional restaurant might. 

The "and Lounge" part of the restaurant's name suggests another way in which Fish and The Knife will distinguish itself from other restaurants. On weekends, a 4,000-square-foot section of the massive, 13,000-square-foot space will transform into a nightclub with Las Vegas-style lights and sound.

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