Chef Sherman Yeung Dishes on His Houston Japanese Restaurant Concept

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Money cats are storied creatures in Japanese culture. The felines serve as a representation of prosperity and abundance for the workplace. 

The maneki-neko figurines are the waving cats you’ll see entering most Japanese businesses, and it’s what Houston Chef Sherman Yeung named his forthcoming Houston restaurant after. 

“I’ve always loved Money Cats growing up,” Yeung says. “I know there are many different variations of them, depending on which paw is waving, and which color it is.”

Yeung’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong, and he comes from a Cantonese background, he says. “The Cantonese language is a dying culture, and it saddens me,” he shares.

While his family traditions are important, as a purveyor of Asian culture as a whole, Yeung decided to pay homage to, and amplify Japanese cuisine with this latest effort. 

Money Cat is the second restaurant to come from the Tobiuo Sushi & Bar owner. The upscale sushi eatery will have a more modern spin on traditional East Asian cuisine. 

Yeung’s title will double as both owner and executive chef, bringing much experience from his culinary journey having worked at Uchi, Yauatcha, and Izakaya WA. 

Fans of Tobiuo can expect the same elevated feel at the sister restaurant, but more direct acknowledgments to Japan, from place settings to the decor. 

“We want everything to be a little more deliberate and intentional with Money Cat,” Yeung explains. 

Citing his love for Houston restaurants like Nancy’s Hustle and Squable, which are modern European and new American restaurants, he calls Money Cat, “new Japanese,” which is his own spin on those other restaurant terms. 

Yeung doesn’t want the menu to come off too intimidating for patrons, so he plans to keep it simple with light menu offerings like sushi and sashimi plates, and large plates like the Okonomiyaki, the savory Japanese pancake dish. 

Money Cat has been months in the making, and although excited, Yeung is equally anxious. His biggest hope with the new concept is that guests come in with an open mind, ready to eat.

Money Cat, Kirby Grove, 2925 Richmond Ave., Ste. 140, is slated to open later this year.

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