Preview Modern Seafood Cuisine may look like a sushi restaurant, but don't expect to find California rolls or spicy tuna at the new Sugar Land spot. Back in October, chef/owner Jason Liao told CultureMap that he was tired of "unprofessional" practices and look alike menus.
What then, is Preview? In a note on Facebook, Liao calls it a "sashimi bar," noting that he uses sashimi grade fish in both raw and cooked preparation, but doesn't serve sushi rolls or nigiri.
Instead, Liao is serving a series of raw and cooked small plates that draw from a variety of global influences that include Japanese, South American and others.
"I’m paying respect to my culinary background with Japanese cuisine, but none of my workers have a Japanese cooking background," Liao tells CultureMap. "Japanese cuisine and seafood go hand in hand, (but I) wanted to do various types of seafood from all over the world."
At the start of its soft opening, Preview didn't even offer chopsticks, but Liao has since relented, acknowledging that dishes like his hamachi crudo and New Zealand salmon with apple emulsion are simply easier to eat that way.
At the start of its soft opening, Preview didn't even offer chopsticks, but Liao has since relented.
The apple emulsion and other fruit components, like a coconut creme with the Kentucky fried tuna and roasted figs with the seared salmon, further differentiate Liao's cuisine. "I guess that is a pretty important part of my cuisine," Liao says. "We started making connections with local farmers. Produce-wise, I’m trying to go local as much as I can."
Liao considers his tuna ceviche with seared scallops and snapper chips to be one of the menu's signature items. "I developed that dish when I was doing omakases at sushi bars," he explains.
On a visit during one of Preview's first nights, the non-fish elements were a bit of a letdown, particularly the gummy sweet potato gnocchi that accompanied an otherwise enjoyable plate of seared scallops. Liao realizes there will be a few bumps in the road, but he is optimistic about Preview's potential.
"This is my first restaurant as an owner," he says. "If they’re able to execute at 50-percent the first night, as they start to work together, I don’t foresee any problems with our line."
Preview is open from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays and from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.