Enjoy Houston’s first modern, Korean-inspired kitchen at Nara

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Photo credit: Julie Soefer

Be among the first to dine at Nara, Houston’s first modern Korean-inspired kitchen, now open at West Ave in River Oaks.

Update: Nara has permanently closed.

Conceived by Chef Donald Chang, Nara’s menu surrounds authentic Korean dishes with a modern sensibility and complements them stellar Japanese cuisine. It also happens to be Houston’s very first full-service Korean restaurant inside the Loop.

Menu and Expertise

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Chef Chang has been a Houstonian for 37 years. At the age of 26 he opened the original Nara in West Houston as the city’s first Japanese tablecloth restaurant. Reimagined for the culinary world of modern Houston, the new Nara will offer an authentic Korean dining experience in an upscale environment. The menu will also be mixed with Japanese cuisine true to Chang’s culinary training and the entwined histories of the two nations.

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Chef Donald Chang at Nara Restaurant | Photo credit: Julie Soefer

“We’ve basically pulled the best from both cultures and put it into one restaurant,” Chang said. “Koreans do sushi, but not like the Japanese. Japanese have their own style of beef, but it’s not like Korean. We’re blending the two cultures together with components of both. It’s a mix between the food I grew up eating and the food I grew up with professionally as a classically-trained Japanese chef. I’m beyond excited about how it all has come together.”

Design and Atmosphere

Crisp and modern, the restaurant’s interior also pays homage to the past. Nara’s signature Sakura tree, made of petrified wood and hand-made pink silk leaves, immediately sets the tone and ambiance for all who walk in the front door. Designed by architect Isaac Preminger, the restaurant is punctuated by organic, earthy tones, stone tabletops and a glass-enclosed wine room.

Four distinct areas make up the space at Nara, each offering a unique dining experience, They include a 96-seat main dining room complete with a central sushi and bun bar, a 10-person chef’s table directly in front of an exhibition kitchen, a private 16-seat room designed for an authentic Korean grilling experience, and an outdoor patio lounge with a seating capacity of 60.

Nara Sushi + Korean Kitchen

 

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