party watch

Houstonians look sharp at chic sushi spot's birthday bash

Houstonians look sharp at chic sushi spot's birthday bash

Roka Akor Amy Johnston Kam Franklin
Amy Johnston and Kam Franklin.  Photo by Jacob Power
Roka Akor Alma and Dany Bai
Alma and Dany Blair.  Photo by Jacob Power
Roka Akor Cary Evans and Ian and Casey Tucker
Cary Evans and Ian and Casey Tucker.  Photo by Jacob Power
Roka Akor Jaquelyn Tullo and Jennifer Nix
Jaquelyn Tullo and Jennifer Nix. Photo by Jacob Power
Roka Akor Kelsey and Brooks Creech
Kelsey and Brooks Creech.  Photo by Jacob Power
Roka Akor Megan McCurdy and Christie Izzo
Megan McCurdy and Christie Izzo.  Photo by Jacob Power
Roka Akor Sunny Mehra
Roka Akor's Sunny Mehra. Photo by Jacob Power
Roka Akor Will Johnston, Carlos Talledo, Nick Simmons and Chris Foley
Will Johnston, Carlos Talledo, Nick Simmons, and Chris Foley. Photo by Jacob Power
Roka Akor nigiri
The nigiri station.  Photo by Jacob Power
Roka Akor exterior
Roka Akor at night.  Photo by Jacob Power
Roka Akor Amy Johnston Kam Franklin
Roka Akor Alma and Dany Bai
Roka Akor Cary Evans and Ian and Casey Tucker
Roka Akor Jaquelyn Tullo and Jennifer Nix
Roka Akor Kelsey and Brooks Creech
Roka Akor Megan McCurdy and Christie Izzo
Roka Akor Sunny Mehra
Roka Akor Will Johnston, Carlos Talledo, Nick Simmons and Chris Foley
Roka Akor nigiri
Roka Akor exterior

The beats were flowing, as were the Japanese-themed old fashioneds, as Roka Akor, the popular Japanese steakhouse, seafood, and sushi restaurant celebrated its one-year anniversary with a splash. 

The exclusive soirée in the hotspot located within the luxe 2929 Weslayan apartments played host to over 300 of Houston’s top brass, business executives, socialites, and influencers. Guests strolled a red carpet and were handed signature Roka Akor cocktails including blood orange margaritas with Cimarron Blanco tequila, solerno blood orange liqueur, blood orange bitters, and a chili salt rim. Guests gushed over the Roka Fashioned with Suntory Toki, angostura bitters, Okinawa black sugar, lemon, and orange oil. The crowd was wowed by florals designed by Viviana Valverde and the intricate, perfectly designed sushi buffet stations — where top-notch cuts became food art.

Partygoers purchased raffle tickets for several exquisite, indulgent items and experiences including a bottle of Tentaka Silent Stream Junmai Daiginjo Sake — one of the world’s finest sakes — an omakase for two with wine and sake pairings ($350 value), and a Japanese Wagyu dinner for two with wine pairings. 

This wasn’t a light bites affair. Roka Akor’s food stations were resplendent with the restaurant’s beautifully presented dishes. At the hot line station, shrimp cones, chicken cones, and beef and lobster gyoza greeted guests, while the robata station featured seven offerings: asparagus, chicken, mushroom, pork belly, and ribeye skewers, scallops, and signature Korean spiced lamb chops with cucumber and smoked eggplant.

The talents of chef Jason Phan and Roka Akor’s executive chef Ce Bian were showcased via escolar tataki, beef tataki, and wagyu tartare, alongside an exceptional offering of nigiri, sashimi, and maki. Afterwards, an assortment of chocolate, green tea, and vanilla cream puffs, and panna cotta with fresh fruit refreshed palates.

DJ Sun spun head-bobbing tunes and ushered people out to the dance floor. About halfway through the party, Roka Akor’s team invited the ecstatic crowd around a traditional sake ceremony known as Kagami Biraki. The ceremony was led by Roka Akor vice president Sunny Mehra, who broke open the sake cask, which then produced sake shots for the nearly 300 strong crowd.

Joining the party were Roka Akor vice president Sunny Mehra, chef Ce Bian, Ceron, Kam Franklin, Duyen and Marc Nguyen, Oliver Halkowich, Dr. Franklin and Cindi RoseKatherine Whaley, James Sivco, Susan Kennard, Houston Ballet principal soloist Jessica ColladoConnor WalshHarper Watters, Natalie Varnum, Kara Smith, Cristina and Matt Kooker, Paul and Barrett Kilian, Julie Soefer, restauranteur Ian Tucker and Casey Tucker, Shavonnah Roberts Schreiber, and Tatiana Sorkin.