attention oenophiles

Houston's best sushi restaurant uncorks new reserve wine list of premium pours

Houston's best sushi restaurant uncorks curated new reserve wine list

Manabu Horiuchi Hori-san Kata Robata
Chef Hori wanted better wines at Kata Robata. Photo by Julie Soefer

Highly regarded Japanese restaurant Kata Robata has always had plenty of sake and cocktails to pair with its cuisine, but the Upper Kirby restaurant has recently stepped up its wine program, too.

Inspired by his time as an executive assistant chef at Sushiko Honten in Tokyo, chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi wanted to upgrade the restaurant’s wine offerings. A new reserve list, developed by wine director Stephanie Vu in consultation with sommelier and Houston Wine Merchant manager (and Kata Robata regular) Antonio Gianola, offers an appealing array of selections from France, California, Italy, and more.

At the high end, wine lovers can splurge on a $1,300 bottle of 1999 Chateau Margeaux or a $900 bottle of 2002 Dom Perignon P2. Those looking to spend a little less will find options such as a 2016 Adleshiem Pinot Noir ($105) or a 2015 Zeni Muller Thurgau ($55). While the wines aren’t designed to be paired with any specific dishes, Vu is always happy to suggest options that will suit a person’s taste.

“When Chef Mamoru Sugiyama and his team started pairing sushi with wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy, everyone thought he was crazy,” chef Hori said in a statement. “But it worked! I love sake, but expertly paired wine and sushi is really delicious.”

“We have carefully selected these Reserve wines from all regions to tell a story with each bite,” Vu added. “Despite the countries coming from different ends of the world, they are truly meant for each other. Sometimes when different components are combined, they can create something unique.”

To celebrate the new offering, chef Hori and Gianola have teamed up for a special wine lunch on Saturday, July 30. Priced at $300 per person plus tax and gratuity, the menu features dishes such as: snacks like lobster Chawanmushi paired with NV Champagne Waris-Larmandier Grand Cru Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Particules Crayeuses; sashimi paired with 2007 Daniel-Etienne Defaix Chablis 1er Cru “Vaillons;” pan-seared kinmedai with shiso-ankake sauce matched with 2010 Domaine Potintet-Ampeau Meursault 1er Cru “Les Charmes;” and Texas wagyu beef paired with 2008 Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac 5ème Grand Cru Classé. Reservations are available via the Resy app.

“As with most meals at Kata Robata, there is a subtle and quiet intensity to this meal,” Gianola said. “I chose all French wines since Chef Hori’s first experience with wine was French (as is his favorite wine).”

After the lunch, Gianola’s wines will be added to Vu’s reserve list. Pricing is yet to be announced.