Listing the top ten sushi restaurants in Houston isn't easy.  Every year, the entire process typically begins in the month of March and ends at the beginning of December.  And in 2012, with more than 65 restaurants anonymously visited and reviewed, we are confident that our list accurately defines the very best that Houston has to offer (at this time).  Without question, we are more than willing to admit that sushi quality, customer service and personal opinions directly reflect an individual experience.  In other words, your viewpoint may vary.  However, this list was made by compiling anonymous reviews over continual experiences from knowledgable individuals.

Criteria
Our reviews, and subsequent top ten list, are developed from eight critical factors: (a) sushi rice - flavor, texture and temperature, (b) balance of flavor, (c) quality of ingredients - fish, vegetable and/or egg, (d) menu selection, (e) traditional sushi selection, (f) value in relation to portion, (g) customer service/knowledge of staff, and (h) restaurant cleanliness and general ambiance.  During each visit, every establishment was carefully evaluated (stemming from a comprehensive review of all eight factors) and immediately documented to ensure an accurate representation of the experience.  Detailed reviews are then consolidated to our 'Sushi Evaluation Forms' for future references.  These forms are reviewed to estimate the comprehensive performance within a sushi restaurant while evaluating the need for additional visits.  (Click here to see our standard Sushi Evaluation Form)

Tough Decisions
Reviewing numerous sushi spots can be tricky.  Isolated and unusual circumstances can easily influence any review.  It would be remarkably easy (and unfair) to allow an abnormal occurrance to sway an overall decision.  For example, a change in management can quickly alter an overall performance over time.  Therefore, if a change in leadership is identified, the review of such a restaurant might require additional anonymous visits in the future.  While dozens of Houston-based sushi restaurants can be proud of their efforts, very few establishments consistently exceeded our expectations (when all eight factors were considered).  Our 2013 Top Ten Sushi List is a culmination of sushi/Japanese restaurants that have generated above average ratings. In some cases, the decisions were difficult...but had to be made.  Note:  On seventeen separate instances, some restaurants required three and four visits to evaluate a miscalculation or reconcile 'a tie' between establishments.  In other words, some ratings were so very close that several visits were warranted to make a final determination.  Tough decisions indeed.

Honorable Mentions
When we reviewed our final scores, it was obvious that several sushi establishments were doing a great job.  However, while one restaurant provided a fantastic value, their sushi rice may be substandard.  While another offers a consistent and ideal balance of flavor, it may suffer from a lack of customer service or an obvious challenge in cleanliness.  But we do believe in giving credit where it's due.  Simply because a sushi spot may not be listed on our 2013 Top Ten Sushi List, doesn't mean that it is never worthy of a visit.  So we've also offered an 'Honorable Mention' category this year to recognize the restaurants who exceeded expectations in one or more categories but didn't attain the highest overall scores to be listed in the top ten.  Review the 'Honorable Mentions,' please click here. 

A Special Thank You
Creating an achievable list of 'sushi contenders' isn't an easy task.  Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Stephen Bishop, Marc Bronsweig, Kim Villarubia, Rebecca Sarfati, Daniel Walsh and Jason Statwelder, the Sushi Club of Houston was able to compile, document and review over 60 sushi restaurants/sushi bars throughout Houston.  The project was exhaustive but worth every effort.  If you'd like to be a part of the
2014 Top Ten Research Team, please contact Carl Rosa by clicking here.