Chef Billy Kin, identified for beloved Heights restaurant Blackbird Izakaya and Galleria-area spot Hidden Omakase, has a brand new mission within the works for the previous Golden Bagels location at 3119 White Oak Drive.
The spot will likely be two eating places in a single — a reservations-only omakase restaurant, and a extra informal izakaya-style eatery. The primary part of the mission, the omakase restaurant, is predicted to open in early November. Each eating places will incorporate influences from Kin’s many tasks and former jobs, in addition to institutions run by his father and grandfather all through Asia and San Francisco. Known as Kinokawa, the omakase portion is called after a Japanese restaurant Kin’s father ran in Taiwan for greater than three many years.
The izakaya half, which will likely be known as Tesserack, will doubtless open in early 2022, as soon as Kin secures a liquor license. That facet of the restaurant is impressed partly by the science fiction movie Interstellar, a favourite of Kin and his daughter. The eating places, just like the film, are “about speaking with the previous and the current,” Kin says.
Kin’s earlier Heights restaurant, Blackbird Izakaya, opened in 2018 and gained a loyal following for its innovated tackle Japanese delicacies, together with dishes like curry katsu and super-fresh sushi. Nevertheless, the restaurant couldn’t face up to the early days of the pandemic and Houston stay-home ordinance, and shuttered in July 2020.
Kin took a number of months off of cooking, however was rapidly tapped by restaurateur Tuan Tran to assist open Hidden Omakase, which debuted in a Galleria-area workplace constructing in December 2020. Kin labored to get the much-lauded restaurant off the bottom, ultimately handing the kitchen over to chef Niki Vongthong on the finish of March.
Like many individuals at the start of the pandemic, Kin says he went by a low interval, particularly after the closure of Blackbird. However working at Hidden re-inspired him. “I used to be considering, ‘I’m by no means going to open a restaurant once more,’” he says. “However Tuan’s the one who helped me rediscover that it’s enjoyable to prepare dinner once more.”
He additionally by no means thought he’d land within the Heights once more, saying he had an “emotional attachment” to Blackbird’s location and his many neighborhood regulars. However when Golden Bagels closed in September, the timing — and the placement — have been excellent.
For Kinokawa, Kin will likely be working with connections he made throughout his tenure at Hidden Omakase to supply recent seafood straight from Japan. He plans to concentrate on edomae-style sushi, which stems from 1820s Japan, earlier than electrical refrigeration. In edomae sushi, the fish is steadily preserved in soy sauce, vinegar or simmered in broth.
At Tesserack, the menu will concentrate on Japanese whiskeys and craft cocktails. Kin stated he’s additionally planning on placing a few of Blackbird’s hottest dishes on the menu.
He’s additionally incorporating a pandemic pastime — woodworking — into the design of each eating places, constructing an old school, non-electric ice field for Kinokawa to emulate these utilized in nineteenth century Japan, and made almost all of the furnishings for each eating places by hand.
Kin says one in all his inspirations is George Nakashima, an architect and woodworker who is taken into account the daddy of the American Craft Motion. “After studying his ebook, I noticed the best way he sees nature and wooden is absolutely much like how a chef sees meals elements.”
Kin says he’s constructing