My Top 5: Co-owner of Shun Japanese Kitchen Chef Naoki Yoshida

Photo courtesy of Shun Japanese Kitchen

Published weekly, our My Top 5 series highlights Houston entrepreneurs, creators, and influencers and reveals their favorite things to do in Houston in their time off. This week, we’re very pleased to feature a special double edition featuring husband and wife co-owners of Shun Japanese Kitchen, Naoki Yoshida and Renee Yoshida. Their menu includes a wide selection of sushi and hot dishes and boasts one of the largest sake selections in the city. Click here to see Renee Yoshida’s My Top 5.

My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston

by Chef Naoki Yoshida

  1. Urban Harvest Farmers Market  When running a restaurant, half the battle is knowing the source from which your food comes from and who handles it. For me, it’s about showing gratitude towards a product that took months or even years to produce. I enjoy going to Urban Harvest Farmers Market once a month to look at all the new harvest of the season. At Shun, we focus on seasonality so checking out the produce at the farmers market is a big part of our menu development process. Talking to farmers is also an amazing experience. Who better to ask than the source themselves? All of the producers are super helpful, and always educate me on when certain ingredients should be used. 
  2. Burger-Chan  If I want the best burger in town, I go to Burger-Chan at Greenway Plaza. It’s family-owned and operated by Will and his wife Diana. When you take your first bite, you can instantly understand why their burgers have been rated as one of the top burgers in town. For me, one of the biggest perks is being able to customize any of the menu items to your liking. I always go with the Mushroom Swiss with sauteed onion & mushroom, swiss cheese, and their house-made scallion aioli. And don’t worry, if you have to wait in line, they have a daily math problem that will help keep you occupied. 
  3. SweetCup  I’ve never been disappointed by the amazing housemade sorbet and ice cream available at Sweet Cup. All of the options are so inventive – they do a vanilla bean tres leches and a kumquat creamsicle, which is hands down my favorite flavor. Be sure to ask for a waffle fortune cookie before you leave. 
  4. Clark’s Hardwood Lumber Co.  When I have time and really need to detox from life at the restaurant, I do woodwork. There is nothing more satisfying to me than having wood chips flying through the air as I run the power tools across smooth planks of wood. It helps me to forget about all of my daily stressors for a split second. I source all of the wood for my projects from Clark’s. It has some of the most unique wood in town. I mean, there aren’t many places in Houston where you can find purple wood. What many people don’t know is that I actually hand-selected each piece of lumber inside of our restaurant. Each piece is customized to fit properly. I owe it to the guys at Clark’s for their hard work and dedication to their craft. It will always be the only place I trust for lumber. 
  5. Shanghai Restaurant  When it comes to Chinese food, Shanghai Restaurant in Chinatown holds a dear place in my heart. The chef has been making Chinese food in Houston for the past 40 years. In high school, I became close friends with the owner’s son so we would go to the restaurant every other day after school. It’s like my second home. My favorite dishes are the fried pork ribs and the chicken fried crunchy noodles.  

About Chef Naoki Yoshida

With skills passed down from his father who has owned the famed Nippon Restaurant since 1986, Chef Naoki Yoshida has been fine-tuning his skills for almost two decades. Launched in 2018 under the direction of Naoki and wife Renee Yoshida, Shun Japanese Kitchen was developed to explore new realms of Japanese cuisine with the concept of “second-generation Japanese food”. Shun provides a unique dining experience, marrying traditional Japanese ingredients with readily available seasonal produce and flavors inspired by Houston.