December 11, 2022

Michelin-starred chefs team up for a dual-concept Japanese restaurant in The Heights


Two talented chefs are teaming up to open a new dual-concept Japanese restaurant in The Heights. Billy Kin and Brandon Silva will soon unveil Kinokawa, Houston’s newest omakase restaurant, and Tesseract, a laid-back izakaya.

Kin praised Blackbird Izakaya, a Japanese restaurant in the heights that closed last year. He opened Hidden Omakase in early 2021 before handing over the restaurant to current chef Nikki Vongthong.

Silva’s CV includes stints at Uchi and several stages in the United States and Europe. Earlier this year, he opened Degust, an intimate tasting menu restaurant, but left the restaurant in September.

Silva told CultureMap he contacted Kin after reading an article in Eater Houston about the chef’s plan to open Kinokawa in the former Golden Bagels & Coffee space on White Oak. Even though they didn’t know each other well, the chefs immediately got closer to their similar approaches to cooking.

“It will be like John Stockton and Karl Malonoe, we will try to find some chemistry and present something that is original, not too crazy, but that tells the story of him and myself,” Kin says.

“All the training I have around the world is something special that we can finally do together. We can do something really fun and cool,” Silva adds.

Similar to Hidden, Kinokawa will serve a Japanese-inspired tasting menu of around 12 courses in a room that can only seat around 15 diners. Scheduled to open next month in the building’s main dining room, Kin said the menu would draw inspiration from techniques used in edomae sushi and use fish imported from Japan. He sees Silva as the person who can help him raise the restaurant further.

“For this concept, I want to create the same experience [as Hidden], introduce diners to something they’ve never tried, ”he says. “Everything will be a global experience, from the food to the decor to the furniture. With Brandon on board, this will allow us to push the limits to the culinary aspect.

The patio of the bagel store will be transformed into Tesseract, a relaxed izakaya concept open to walk-in diners. Named for the Interdimensional Portal in the movie Interstellar, a largely opaque wall will allow Tesseract diners to get a glimpse of the tasting menu served at Kinokawa. It won’t open until Kin receives a liquor license, which won’t be until early 2022.

Kin sees Tesseract’s menu as a simplified version of what he served Blackbird, but adding Silva to the team also opens up the possibility of more adventurous dishes.

“Since Brandon is on board it might have a Spanish influence,” he said. “I’m sure whatever we come up with will be pretty awesome.”