Inner loopers looking for a low-key, yet authentic sushi concept were quick to embrace River Oaks’ Zen Japanese Izakaya, when it opened in fall 2016. The restaurant’s Japanese-trained chef sends out an authentic array of sushi and sashimi, as well as noodle and rice bowls.
Inside, the contemporary space is softly lit and calming with pendant lanterns hanging overhead and warm, built-in banquettes dotting the interior. Mid-day, Zen draws the professional set for too-pretty-to-eat selections like the wagyu shokada bento or the karaage—Japanese-style fried chicken. In the evening, the restaurant fills with happy-hour hopefuls and couples on date night, coming in search of steamy bowls of seafood champon and the chirashi—a fish, veggie and rice selection that is a Japanese favorite.
Zen Japanese is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Monday.