Owner of Tobiuo in Katy Plans to Open Money Cat Restaurant in Houston

chef Sherman Young, who owns tobio, a Japanese restaurant in Katy, is planning its first restaurant in Houston. Call money cat (Not to be confused with Chef/Owner Justin Yu of Theodore Rex’s popular brunch and limited-edition menus), it will be located in the Kirby Grove Center at 2925 Richmond, adjacent to upscale Indian restaurant Kiran. Like Tobiuo, Money Cat will be a modern Japanese restaurant that goes beyond sushi, and is expected to open this summer.

Tobiuo was originally created by Chef Mike Lim. Young took over after he left Lim to open his own Houston restaurant, Kano Sushi downtown.

Young personally takes on the role of Executive Chef on Money Cat. He plans to build on his experience not only in Tobiuo, but also in Uchi, Yauatcha and Izakaya WA. In preparation for a return to the kitchen, Yeung recently staged at Michelin-starred Birdsong in San Francisco, where he worked on his skills as a cook, and at Smyth in Chicago, where he said he learned about new ingredients and techniques to build depth of flavor.

Jiu Dingyan and Sherman Young
Money Cat Kitchen Chef Jio Dingayan and Owner/Executive Chef Sherman Young. Image via Kimberly Park.

To help, he transfers some of Tobiuo’s most experienced team members to Money Cat, including chow, whose experience spans over two decades in the industry including Roka Akor, Oporto and RA Sushi. In addition to being the general manager of Money Cat, Chau will also develop the cocktail and wine program. Ashley Castro, who has worked with Tobiuo since 2018, will serve as Assistant General Manager.

The pastry chef is also moving to the new location Giulu Dingayan “Gio”, a recent graduate of LeNôtre Culinary Arts Institute whose previous experience includes being a cook in the now closed poutine. In Money Cat, Dingayan takes on the role of chef and, like Yeung, also warms up by blasting off at Michelin-starred, n/naka and n/soto restaurants in Los Angeles.

“Money Cat is a more personal project for me, and I don’t just want to be comfortable; I want to challenge myself,” Young says via a press release. “I feel it is the duty of those in the restaurant industry to share what we know about food, whether with peers or guests. I am excited to share what I have learned during the stages of my work to provide a richer experience and appreciation for our food. And I am excited to serve anyone who enjoys great food.”

As first- and second-generation Asian Americans, Yeung and Dingayan call the food at Money Cat the “New Japanese,” which will take some inspiration from regional American foods. There will be a commitment to using local ingredients, and while the dishes are meant to be fun and light, the execution will rely on time-honored Japanese and French techniques. Some of the planned dishes include a variety of sushi, a Katsu Sando On Homemade Milk Bread, Osaka Style Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) with bonito butter, and Kabocha Ravioli. Yeung is experimenting with koji brewing and hopes to give his own miso houseAnd I am willow And any butter.

nigiri in Tobiuo
The chef’s choice of Nigerian in Tobiuo may provide a hint of what’s to come in Money Cat. Sandra Crittenden’s photo.

Dingayan is using his educational background and that of pastry chefs to create a Money Cat baking and dessert program that will focus on “interesting flavors” and “more delicious items,” such as Chocolate covered seaweed candy.

Drinks will include more adventurous cocktails than those currently served at Tobiuo, a curated wine and beverage list and a special tea service.

The 4,100-square-foot Money Cat space will be decorated in a minimalist, modern Japanese style with “clear lines, warm wood and floor tones, and black marble tile work that accentuates the wrap-around bar and semi-open kitchen, which faces a high sushi bar and wooden shelves lined with ceramic serving utensils.” There will also be interesting cubic light fixtures.

Of course, you cannot have a restaurant called Money Cat without a large number of statues of the same name (called maneki nico, or seduction in Japanese). There is a plan to display a wall full of gold at the entrance. “I’ve always been fond of money cats. They’re very cute, plus there’s a history behind them, and they’ll bring good luck to the restaurant,” Young explained.

When Money Cat is first introduced, it will only serve dinner, with a tasting menu and a la carte options. The hours will be 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. A “social hour” is planned, during which time guests can take advantage of discount drinks, sushi, and hot food specials. Parking should not be an experience for visitors, as there is a parking garage on site, as well as street and valet parking.

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