Hidden in plain sight

Intimate and worldly new sushi restaurant rolls out in the Galleria area

Intimate and worldly new sushi restaurant rolls out in Galleria area

Hidden Omakase sushi
A selection of nigiri. Courtesy of Hidden Omakase
Hidden Omakase Billy Kin
Chef Billy Kin. Courtesy of Hidden Omakase
Hidden Omakase exterior
The restaurant is hidden behind these vintage comics. Courtesy of Hidden Omakase
Hidden Omakase sushi
Hidden Omakase Billy Kin
Hidden Omakase exterior

An intimate new sushi restaurant is coming to the Galleria area this month. Hidden Omakse will feature the talents of chef Billy Kin when it opens in mid-December. 

Best known for his work at Blackbird Izakaya, the Heights restaurant that closed earlier this year, Hidden Omakase will feature a 12-course tasting menu created by Kin and his sous chef Taylor McDaniel. While many Japanese restaurants in Houston offer an omakase option, none do so exclusively. 

Kin occasionally served an omakase menu at the request of dedicated regulars, but it interrupted the overall flow of serving Blackbird’s regular menu. One of those regulars, restaurateur Tuan Tran (Moku Bar, Bird Haus at Underground Food Hall) approached Kin about partnering on a restaurant that only served tasting menus. The chef decided that sounded like a good fit for the kind of cooking he likes to do.

“After my last restaurant closed, I realized that what I really enjoy is talking with people sitting at the bar counter,” Kin said in a release. “Most of my VIP regulars were my bar customers. After COVID, we couldn’t do that anymore. The fun part just wasn’t there anymore.”

At Hidden, he’ll be able to recreate the fun aspects of cooking for the 14 diners fortunate enough to secure a spot at one of two nightly seatings. Located in an office building at 5353 West Alabama, the restaurant is literally hidden — its windows are covered with vintage comics and it doesn’t have a sign. Once inside, customers will find a a U-shaped counter and simple decoration: just two manga-style portraits, one of Kin and one of a guest chef.

“The whole feel we’re trying to go with is very New York style, very Tokyo style, very discreet,” Kin tells CultureMap.  

Ingredients will vary a bit from week to week, but Kin will source Japanese fish and speciality items such as uni. The menu won’t be strictly Japanese, which seems fitting for a chef of Taiwanese ancestry who grew up in San Francisco before attending the Hilton School at the University of Houston.

When Hidden opens, it will be BYOB, but the restaurant has applied for a liquor license. Expect a price of about $150 per person. Kin guarantees diners will get their money’s worth.

“I promise you won’t have to stop by Jack in the Box on the way home,” he says.