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Acclaimed Houston sushi masterminds serve up modern new Japanese restaurant in Upper Kirby

Acclaimed sushi team serves up new Upper Kirby Japanese restaurant

Money Cat restaurant Jio Dingayan Ashley Castro Le Chau Sherman Yeung
The Money Cat team: Jio Dingayan, Ashley Castro, Le Chau, and chef-owner Sherman Yeung. Photo by Kimberly Park

The team behind one of the Houston-area's most acclaimed sushi restaurants is coming to Upper Kirby. Chef Sherman Yeung and his colleagues at Katy's Tobiuo Sushi will open Money Cat this summer. 

Money Cat will join Indian fine dining staple Kiran's and casual coffee shop Slowpokes in the Kirby Grove development (2925 Richmond Ave.). The 4,100-square-foot restaurant aims to serve modern, Japanese-inspired fare that draws upon a broad array of influences.

Yeung brings extensive experience to his role. Prior to taking over Tobiuo in 2019, he worked at restaurants such as Uchi, Yauatcha, and Izakaya Wa. To develop ideas for Money Cat's menu, he staged at Michelin-starred restaurants in San Francisco (Birdsong) and Chicago (Smyth).

“Money Cat is a much more personal project for me, and I don’t want to just be comfortable; I want to challenge myself,” Yeung said in a statement. “I feel it's the duty of those in the restaurant industry to share what we know about food, both with peers and guests. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned during my stages to provide a richer experience and appreciation of our food. And I’m excited to serve anyone who enjoys great food.”

That great food starts with a selection of sushi as well as other cold items and hot dishes; many will be made with locally sourced ingredients, according to a release. The restaurant will be open for dinner only and offer both a la carte and tasting menu formats.

Some of the possible dishes include a katsu sando on house milk bread, an Osaka-style okonomiyaki with bonito butter, and kabocha ravioli. Chef de cuisine Jiolo “Jio” Dingayan will oversee the restaurant's pastry offerings, develop a bread program, and work alongside Yeung on the savory side. Like Yeung, Dingayan recently completed a stage at Michelin-starred restaurant n/naka in Los Angeles to prepare for Money Cat.

General manager Le Chau, an original partner in Tobiuo, will oversee a beverage program that includes wine, sake, cocktails, and teas. He'll be joined by assistant general manager Ashley Castro.

Design plans include a dining room colored with earth tones and black marble tilework around a semi-open kitchen. True to its name, the entrance will feature a wall of money cats waving at patrons.

“I really love the restaurant industry and Houston’s culinary scene and look forward to contributing to it in an even bigger way,” Yeung said. “At the end of the day, my goal is to serve great food and share it with the dining public. Tobiuo is doing very well at LaCenterra, so the timing is good, plus with a strong team, it makes sense to use their strengths on this new project.”