Details have begun to emerge about the Asian restaurant that will soon occupy the Galleria-area space in the BBVA Compass building that was once home to shuttered Italian restaurant Osteria Mazzantini. As CultureMap first reported two days after Mazzantini closed, a successful local restaurant group had assumed control of the space, with an eye on opening an "Asian fusion restaurant with a sushi component."
At the time, the concept lacked a name and a chef, but the Houston Business Journal published that information and identified the owner. Now known as Oka Sushi, the restaurant's owner is Tony Sha, who also owns two popular Chinese restaurants: Cafe Ginger in River Oaks and Qin Dynasty near Greenway Plaza. Sha has hired former Uchi chef Eric Tang to execute the concept.
With permits in hand, the restaurant has been able to begin remodeling with an eye on opening by the end of the summer; the Galleria area will also soon be home to another new Asian concept called Sozo Sushi that's set to open in BLVD Place later this year.
Despite the high rents for restaurants near the Galleria, Sha's real estate agent Chantal Prince insists the restaurant will be reasonably priced. "He wants everybody to be able to enjoy his food and be able to afford it," Prince told HBJ.